Genetic Analysis of a Tetracycline Resistance Element From Clostridium Difficile and Its Conjugal Transfer to and From Bacillus Subtilis

J Gen Microbiol. 1990 Jul;136(7):1343-9. doi: 10.1099/00221287-136-7-1343.


A tetracycline resistance (Tcr) determinant from Clostridium difficile strain 630 was cloned into the Escherichia coli plasmid vector pUC13. The resulting plasmid pPPM20, containing an insert of 3.4 kbp, was mapped and a 1.1 kbp SacI-HindIII fragment wholly within the Tcr gene was identified. Dot-blot hybridization studies with the 1.1 kbp fragment showed that the Tcr gene belonged to hybridization class M. Tcr could be transferred between C. difficile strains and to Bacillus subtilis at a frequency of 10(-7) per donor cell. The element could be returned from B. subtilis to C. difficile at a frequency of 10(-8) per donor cell. This is the first demonstration of C. difficile acting as a recipient in intergeneric crosses. DNA from C. difficile transconjugants digested with EcoRV always has two hybridizing fragments of 9.5 and 11.0 kbp when probed with pPPM20. DNA from B. subtilis transconjugants digested with EcoRV produced one hybridizing band of variable size when probed with pPPM20. The behaviour of the element was reminiscent of the conjugative transposons. Therefore we compared the element to the conjugative transposon Tn916. The HincII restriction maps of the two elements differed and no hybridization was detected to oligonucleotides directed to the ends of Tn916. However, the elements do have some sequence homology, detected by hybridization analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics*
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Clostridium difficile / drug effects
  • Clostridium difficile / genetics*
  • Conjugation, Genetic*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific / metabolism
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Tetracycline Resistance / genetics*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific
  • GATATC-specific type II deoxyribonucleases