High prevalence of carbapenem-hydrolysing oxacillinases in epidemiologically related and unrelated Acinetobacter baumannii clinical isolates in Spain

M Ruiz, S Marti, F Fernandez-Cuenca, A Pascual, J Vila
Clinical Microbiology and Infection 2007, 13 (12): 1192-8
Carbapenem-hydrolysing oxacillinases are reported increasingly in Acinetobacter baumannii. This study investigated the role of these beta-lactamases in causing resistance to carbapenems in 83 epidemiologically related and unrelated imipenem-resistant A. baumannii clinical isolates. The isolates were also analysed for the presence of ISAba1 in the promoter region of the bla(OXA-51)-like gene in order to investigate the role of ISAba1 in OXA-51 expression. All clinical isolates contained a bla(OXA-51)-like gene, 20% contained a bla(OXA-58)-like gene, and 42% contained a bla(OXA-40)-like gene; bla(OXA-23)-like, bla(IMP) and bla(VIM) genes were not detected in any of the isolates investigated. ISAba1 was found in 24 (82.7%) of 28 pulsetypes, and was located in the promoter region of the bla(OXA-51)-like gene in five (20.8%) of these pulsetypes. Expression of bla(OXA-51) was detected in the five isolates with ISAba1 located in the promoter region, but was not detected in an isogenic imipenem-susceptible A. baumannii isolate that did not have ISAba1 located in the promoter region. It was concluded that there is a high prevalence of oxacillinases with activity against carbapenems among genetically unrelated A. baumannii clinical isolates from Spain, and that concomitant expression of two carbapenemases (OXA-51-like and either OXA-40-like or OXA-58-like) may take place. Insertion of an ISAba1-like element in the promoter of the bla(OXA-51)-like gene promotes the expression of this gene, although this did not seem to play a major role in carbapenem resistance.

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