Update on acquired tetracycline resistance genes

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2005 Apr 15;245(2):195-203. doi: 10.1016/j.femsle.2005.02.034.


This mini-review summarizes the changes in the field of bacterial acquired tetracycline resistance (tet) and oxytetracycline (otr) genes identified since the last major review in 2001. Thirty-eight acquired tetracycline resistant (Tc(r)) genes are known of which nine are new and include five genes coding for energy-dependent efflux proteins, two genes coding for ribosomal protection proteins, and two genes coding for tetracycline inactivating enzymes. The number of inactivating enzymes has increased from one to three, suggesting that work needs to be done to determine the role these enzymes play in bacterial resistance to tetracycline. In the same time period, 66 new genera have been identified which carry one or more of the previously described 29 Tc(r) genes. Included in the new genera is, for the first time, an obligate intracellular pathogen suggesting that this sheltered group of bacteria is capable of DNA exchange with non-obligate intracellular bacteria. The number of genera carrying ribosomal protection genes increased dramatically with the tet(M) gene now identified in 42 genera as compared with 24 and the tet(W) gene found in 17 new genera as compared to two genera in the last major review. New conjugative transposons, carrying different ribosomal protection tet genes, have been identified and an increase in the number of antibiotic resistance genes linked to tet genes has been found. Whether these new elements may help to spread the tet genes they carry to a wider bacterial host range is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Oxytetracycline / pharmacology*
  • Plasmids
  • Tetracycline / pharmacology*
  • Tetracycline Resistance / genetics*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Tetracycline
  • Oxytetracycline