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Characterization of the Chromosomal Aminoglycoside 2'-N-Acetyltransferase Gene from Mycobacterium Fortuitum.A novel gene encoding an aminoglycoside 2'-N-acetyltransferase (AAC) was cloned from Mycobacterium fortuitum. DNA sequencing results identified an open reading frame that we have called aac(2')-Ib encoding a putative protein with a predicted molecular mass of 24,800 Da. The deduced AAC(2')-Ib protein showed homology to the AAC(2')-Ia from Providencia stuartii. This is the second member of a subfamily of AAC(2')-I enzymes to be identified. No homology was found with other acetyltransferases, including all of the AAC(3) and AAC(6') proteins. The aac(2')-Ib gene cloned in a mycobacterial plasmid and introduced in Mycobacterium smegmatis conferred resistance to gentamicin, tobramycin, dibekacin, netilmicin, and 6'-N-ethylnetilmicin. DNA hybridization with an intragenic probe of aac(2')-Ib showed that this gene was present in all 34 strains of M. fortuitum tested. The universal presence of the aac(2')-Ib gene in M. fortuitum was not correlated with any aminoglycoside resistance phenotype, suggesting that this gene may play a role in the secondary metabolism of the bacterium.