Plasmid-Mediated Tetracycline Resistance in E. coli

  • Stuart B. Levy
  • Laura McMurry
  • Philip Onigman
  • Richard M. Saunders
Part of the Topics in Infectious Diseases book series (TIDIS, volume 2)


The tetracyclines are effective bacteriostatic drugs for a wide variety of microbial infections. They inhibit the binding of aminoacyl transfer RNA to the 30S ribosomal subunit (1). More specifically they appear to interfere with the codon-anticodon interaction (2). The drug has worldwide usage therapeutically as well as prophylactically in humans, domestic and farm animals, and plants. It is, therefore, not surprising that the emergence of resistance to this drug has also occurred worldwide and in epidemic proportions. In fact, in most organisms tested, if resistances to antibiotics have been found, tetracycline resistance is among them. The list includes all Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas, Hemophilus influenza, Streptococcus fecalis, Clostridia perfringins and Staphylococcus aureus (3,4). The most common mode of resistance is by plasmids on which are found the genes for resistance. A clear understanding of the mechanism of resistance in these different species has not yet been reached. Some information has been obtained, however, in studies of Enterobacteriaceae (5,6,7) and Staphylococcus aureus (8,9). In most Enterobacteriaceae studied and in Staphylococcus expression of resistance is regulated (6,7,9). We have identified a tetracycline-inducible protein, TET, associated with tetracycline resistance (7,10) in E. coli and we have partially purified a “repressor” which regulates synthesis of this protein (11). Our results suggest that, as is TET protein, so is the whole tetracycline resistance operon under negative control releasable by tetracycline.


Resistant Cell Sensitive Cell Uptake System Tetracycline Resistance Internal Inhibition 
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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart B. Levy
  • Laura McMurry
  • Philip Onigman
  • Richard M. Saunders

There are no affiliations available

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