R Factors Mediate Resistance to Mercury, Nickel, and Cobalt

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Science  26 May 1967:
Vol. 156, Issue 3778, pp. 1114-1116
DOI: 10.1126/science.156.3778.1114


Fifty-five clinical isolates and laboratory stocks of Escherichia coli and Salmonella were studied for resistance to each of ten metals. Eleven clinical isolates carrying R factors were resistant to mercury, and, in each case, the resistance was mediated by a previously undefined R-factor gene. The gene was phenotypically expressed within 2 to 4 minutes after entry into sensitive bacteria, but the basis for the resistance remains undefined. Fourteen strains, 12 infected with R factors, were resistant to cobalt and nickel, but these resistances were mediated by R-factor genes in only two strains; separate R-factor genes mediated the resistances to nickel and cobalt. These and other results indicate that the genetic composition of R factors is greater than that originally defined.