All strains of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis described to date show medium level resistance to tetracycline. Screening of 26 strains from a variety of sources revealed the presence of tet(W) in all isolates. A transposase gene upstream of tet(W) was found in all strains, and both genes were cotranscribed in strain IPLAIC4. Mutants with increased tetracycline resistance as well as tetracycline-sensitive mutants of IPLAIC4 were isolated and genetically characterized. The native tet(W) gene was able to restore the resistance phenotype to a mutant with an alteration in tet(W) by functional complementation, indicating that tet(W) is necessary and sufficient for the tetracycline resistance seen in B. animalis subsp. lactis.
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