1. When strains of Escherichia coli, bearing transferable factors for resistance to the tetracyclines (R-factors), and previously cultured in the absence of the tetracyclines, are grown for 15–30min. in a low, subinhibitory, concentration (10μg./ml.) of oxytetracycline or tetracycline, there is a rapid and striking increase in resistance to oxytetracycline or tetracycline, this being associated with a marked fall in the absorption of the drug by the cells. 2. Very short preincubation (1min.) with oxytetracycline, followed by growth for 15–30min. in drug-free medium, produces a marked fall in the absorption of the drug by the resistant cells. Preincubation for 30min. with very low concentrations (0·05μg./ml.) of oxytetracycline produces a similar effect. 3. β-Apo-oxytetracycline, which has very little antibacterial activity, also induces a decreased absorption of oxytetracycline. 4. The ability to exclude oxytetracycline is retained by preincubated resistant cells after growth for 2hr. in drug-free medium. However, after growth for 16hr. in drug-free medium, the cells absorb oxytetracycline freely. 5. Chloramphenicol and proflavine inhibit the adaptive decrease in tetracycline absorption. 5-Fluorouracil has only a slight effect. 6. Spheroplasts prepared from resistant cells show an impaired response to preincubation with tetracycline, compared with intact cells. 7. The relevance of these results to the probable mechanism of tetracycline resistance in R-factor-bearing E. coli is discussed.

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