Plasmid DNA in Treponema pallidum (Nichols): potential for antibiotic resistance by syphilis bacteria

Science  31 Jul 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4507, pp. 553-555
DOI: 10.1126/science.6264606


A plasmid DNA structure (approximate molecular weight = 7.5 X 10(6)) was identified in the human pathogen Treponema pallidum (Nichols). The inability to isolate this plasmid from rabbit host tissue and the total lack of DNA homology of the plasmid with rabbit DNA has confirmed its Treponema pallidum origin. The observation documents a newly recognized and potentially significant genetic capability for Treponema pallidum.