The 79,370-bp conjugative plasmid pB4 consists of an IncP-1beta backbone loaded with a chromate resistance transposon, the strA-strB streptomycin resistance gene pair, the oxacillinase gene bla(NPS-1), and a tripartite antibiotic efflux system of the resistance-nodulation-division family

Mol Genet Genomics. 2003 Feb;268(5):570-84. doi: 10.1007/s00438-002-0785-z. Epub 2003 Jan 10.


Plasmid pB4 is a conjugative antibiotic resistance plasmid, originally isolated from a microbial community growing in activated sludge, by means of an exogenous isolation method with Pseudomonas sp. B13 as recipient. We have determined the complete nucleotide sequence of pB4. The plasmid is 79,370 bp long and contains at least 81 complete coding regions. A suite of coding regions predicted to be involved in plasmid replication, plasmid maintenance, and conjugative transfer revealed significant similarity to the IncP-1beta backbone of R751. Four resistance gene regions comprising mobile genetic elements are inserted in the IncP-1beta backbone of pB4. The modular 'gene load' of pB4 includes (1) the novel transposon Tn 5719 containing genes characteristic of chromate resistance determinants, (2) the transposon Tn 5393c carrying the widespread streptomycin resistance gene pair strA-strB, (3) the beta-lactam antibiotic resistance gene bla(NPS-1) flanked by highly conserved sequences characteristic of integrons, and (4) a tripartite antibiotic resistance determinant comprising an efflux protein of the resistance-nodulation-division (RND) family, a periplasmic membrane fusion protein (MFP), and an outer membrane factor (OMF). The components of the RND-MFP-OMF efflux system showed the highest similarity to the products of the mexCD-oprJ determinant from the Pseudomonas aeruginosa chromosome. Functional analysis of the cloned resistance region from pB4 in Pseudomonas sp. B13 indicated that the RND-MFP-OMF efflux system conferred high-level resistance to erythromycin and roxithromycin resistance on the host strain. This is the first example of an RND-MFP-OMF-type antibiotic resistance determinant to be found in a plasmid genome. The global genetic organization of pB4 implies that its gene load might be disseminated between bacteria in different habitats by the combined action of the conjugation apparatus and the mobility of its component elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Chromates / pharmacology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Conjugation, Genetic
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Periplasmic Proteins*
  • Phosphotransferases (Alcohol Group Acceptor) / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Pseudomonas / drug effects
  • Pseudomonas / genetics
  • R Factors / genetics*
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Chromates
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Periplasmic Proteins
  • Phosphotransferases (Alcohol Group Acceptor)
  • streptomycin 6-kinase
  • streptomycin 3''-kinase
  • beta-Lactamases
  • oxacillinase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ431260