Summary: The genetic basis of bacteriocin (Bac) production by six strains of was examined. Gene transfer experiments (in which the plasmids were tagged with the erythromycin resistance transposon Tn55) and plasmid-elimination experiments by growth at 43°C associated bacteriocin production with a particular plasmid in each strain. The Bac plasmids could be separated into two distinct groups: the first comprised plasmids larger than 40 kb, which did not specify immunity to bacteriocins; the second comprised small plasmids (8·0-10·4kb) which also specified immunity to bacteriocins. The sequence relations among the small plasmids (pRJ6, pRJ9, pRJ10 and pRJ11) were investigated by comparing restriction enzyme digest patterns and by hybridization. Plasmids pRJ10 and pRJ11 were indistinguishable and very closely related to plasmid pRJ9. Plasmid pRJ6, although different from the others, shared regions of sequence homology with them. No homology was found between plasmids pRJ6 or pRJ9 and the large Bac plasmids.


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