Tetracycline Resistome of the Organic Pig Gut

K. A. Kazimierczak, K. P. Scott, D. Kelly, Rustam Aminov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The occurrence of genes conferring resistance to tetracyclines in the organic pig gut was assessed through the metagenomic approach. Of 9,000 bacterial artificial chromosome clones analyzed, 10 were identified as carrying the known tet(C), tet(W), and tet(40) genes, as well as novel genes encoding resistance to the tetracyclines minocycline and doxycycline. The latter are different from the known tet genes and are homologous to genes encoding UDP-glucose 4-epimerases, with the domain structure characteristic for these enzymes. The majority of the resistance genes were associated with putative mobile genetic elements. The sequence of a novel 9.7-kb plasmid carrying tet(W) and tet(40) was also identified. Conserved flanking regions identified around the tet(W) and tet(40) genes in our metagenomic library may play a role in genetic exchange of these genes. This is the first report describing the occurrence of tet(40) outside the human intestine. The maintenance of antibiotic resistance genes in apparently antibiotic-free animals is probably due to their presence on mobile genetic elements, the fitness cost of which for the cell is ameliorated during the previous antibiotic selection. ©American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1717-1722
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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