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Title: The conjugation system of Staphylococcus aureus
Author: Evans, Jane E.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1986
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A conjugation system in Staphylococcus aureus has been investigated and shown to be determined, at least in part, by genes carried on plasmids. Conjugation required cell-to-cell contact but not calcium ions. The frequency of conjugation depended on the recipient used and on the incubation conditions. Two conjugative plasmids were mapped by restriction enzyme analysis but experiments to clone the conjugation-determining region were unsuccessful although separate regions specifying gentamicin resistance, ethidium bromide resistance and cadmium resistance were cloned. The gentamicin resistance determinant was probably part of Tn4001. Deletion of various sized pieces of DNA from one of the plasmids resulted in reduction of its ability to specify conjugation but no specific part of this plasmid could be implicated in the process. Further experiments led to the conclusion that this particular plasmid (p8325-4) is probably not self-transmissible but transferred by a phage-mediated system. Strains of Staphylococcus aureus produced a pheromone-like substance that elicited a clumping response in Streptococcus faecalis but no evidence was found for the involvement of staphylococcal conjugative plasmids in this. The conjugative plasmid, p8325-2, mobilized a small plasmid (pT181) but not a chromosomal gene. Insertion of transposon Tn551 was used to produce mutants of the conjugative plasmid p8325-2. Some twenty-six mutants were studied and the position of Tn551 in them mapped. There were preferred regions of insertion for Tn551 and twenty out of the twenty-six mutants had altered ability to conjugate. One showed a significantly higher frequency of conjugation and the other nineteen, all with substantially lower frequencies of conjugation, were mapped to two well-separated regions of the plasmid. Similarity between the locations of these putative regions and those reported for some other conjugative plasmids from staphylococci is striking and suggests a common origin.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bacterial plasmid resistance