Nonchromosomal Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria: Genetic Transformation of Escherichia coli by R-Factor DNA
Transformation of E. coli cells treated with CaCl2 to multiple antibiotic resistance by purified R-factor DNA is reported. Drug resistance is expressed in a small fraction of the recipient bacterial population almost immediately after uptake of DNA, but full genetic expression of resistance requires subsequent incubation in drugfree medium before antibiotic challenge. Transformed bacteria acquire a closed circular, transferable DNA species having the resistance, fertility, and sedimentation characteristics of the parent R factor. Covalently-closed, catenated, and open (nicked) circular forms of R-factor DNA are all effective in transformation, but denaturation and sonication abolish the transforming ability of R-factor DNA in this system.