Site-specific recombination promotes linkage between trimethoprim- and sulfonamide resistance genes. Sequence characterization of dhfrV and sulI and a recombination active locus of Tn21

Mol Gen Genet. 1988 Aug;213(2-3):191-201. doi: 10.1007/BF00339581.


A new gene for trimethoprim resistance, dhfrV, found in several plasmid isolates with different characteristics, was sequenced and found to correspond to a peptide of 157 amino acids showing 75% similarity with the previously characterized, drug resistant dihydrofolate reductase of type I. The sequenced surroundings of dhfrV in plasmid pLMO20, were found to be almost identical with genetic areas surrounding resistance genes in transposon Tn21 and in R plasmid R388. The trimethoprim resistance genes of pLMO20 and R388 and the spectinomycin resistance gene of Tn21 could be regarded as having been inserted, by recombination, into an evolutionary older structure containing the sulfonamide resistance gene, sulI. The latter gene was sequenced and found to correspond to a peptide of 279 amino acids and with a molecular weight of 30,126 daltons. The inserted genes were found to be governed by a promoter situated in the highly conserved structure and also controlling expression of sulI. The insertion points of the different resistance genes were precisely defined, and at the 3' ends of the inserted genes inverted repeats allowing the formation of stem and loop structures were found. Similar structures were found at the 3' ends of the antibiotic resistance genes in Tn7, which could indicate similar recombination mechanisms to be effective in the evolutionary construction of all these different resistance elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Sulfonamides / pharmacology*
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Trimethoprim / pharmacology*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Sulfonamides
  • Trimethoprim
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase