The novel conjugative transposon tn1207.3 carries the macrolide efflux gene mef(A) in Streptococcus pyogenes

Microb Drug Resist. Fall 2003;9(3):243-7. doi: 10.1089/107662903322286445.


The macrolide efflux gene mef(A) of the Streptococcus pyogenes clinical strain 2812A was found to be carried by a 52-kb chromosomal genetic element that could be transferred by conjugation to the chromosome of other streptococcal species. The characteristics of this genetic element are typical of conjugative transposons and was named Tn1207.3. The size of Tn1207.3 was established by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and DNA sequencing analysis showed that the 7,244 bp at the left end of Tn1207.3 were identical to those of the pneumococcal Tn1207.1 element. Tn1207.3-like genetic elements were found to be inserted at a single specific chromosomal site in 12 different clinical isolates S. pyogenes exhibiting the M phenotype of resistance to macrolides and carrying the mef(A) gene. Tn1207.3 was transferred from S. pyogenes 2812A to Streptococcus pneumoniae, and sequence analysis carried out on six independent transconjugants showed that insertion of Tn1207.3 in the pneumococcal genome always occurred at a single specific site as in Tn1207.1. Using MF2, a representative S. pneumoniae transconjugant, as a donor, Tn1207.3 was transferred again by conjugation to S. pyogenes and Streptococcus gordonii. The previously described nonconjugative element Tn1207.1 of S. pneumoniae appears to be a defective element, part of a longer conjugative transposon that carries mef(A) and is found in clinical isolates of S. pyogenes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Conjugation, Genetic
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler, Pulsed
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Macrolides
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Phenotype
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / genetics*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / metabolism*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Macrolides
  • MefA protein, Streptococcus
  • Membrane Proteins