In this study the plasmid pTC, a 90. kb self-conjugative virulence plasmid of the porcine enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strain EC2173 encoding the STa and STb heat-stable enterotoxins and tetracycline resistance, has been sequenced in two steps. As a result we identified five main distinct regions of pTC: (i) the maintenance region responsible for the extreme stability of the plasmid, (ii) the TSL (toxin-specific locus comprising the estA and estB genes) which is unique and characteristic for pTC, (iii) a Tn. 10 transposon, encoding tetracycline resistance, (iv) the tra (plasmid transfer) region, and (v) the colE1-like origin of replication. It is concluded that pTC is a self-transmissible composite plasmid harbouring antibiotic resistance and virulence genes. pTC belongs to a group of large conjugative E. coli plasmids represented by NR1 with a widespread tra backbone which might have evolved from a common ancestor. This is the first report of a completely sequenced animal ETEC virulence plasmid containing an antimicrobial resistance locus, thereby representing a selection advantage for spread of pathogenicity in the presence of antimicrobials leading to increased disease potential.
- Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC)
- Sequence analysis
- Toxin-specific locus (TSL)
- Virulence and antibiotic resistance plasmid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases