The complete nucleotide sequence and mechanism of action of the tetracycline-resistance determinant, Tet P, from Clostridium perfringens has been determined. Analysis of the 4.4 kb of sequence data revealed the presence of two open reading frames, designated as tetA(P) and tetB(P). The tetA(P) gene appears to encode a 420 amino acid protein (molecular weight 46,079) with twelve transmembrane domains. This gene was shown to be responsible for the active efflux of tetracycline from resistant cells. Although there was some amino acid sequence similarity between the putative TetA(P) protein and other tetracycline efflux proteins, analysis suggested that TetA(P) represented a different type of efflux protein. The tetB(P) gene would encode a putative 652 amino acid protein (molecular weight 72,639) with significant sequence similarity to Tet(M)-like cytoplasmic proteins that specify a ribosomal-protection tetracycline-resistance mechanism. In both C. perfringens and Escherichia coli, tetB(P) encoded low-level resistance to tetracycline and minocycline whereas tetA(P) only conferred tetracycline resistance. The tetA(P) and tetB(P) genes appeared to be linked in an operon, which represented a novel genetic arrangement for tetracycline-resistance determinants. It is proposed that tetB(P) evolved from the conjugative transfer into C. perfringens of a tet(M)-like gene from another bacterium.