Transconjugation and genotyping of the plasmid-mediated AmpC beta-lactamase and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase genes in Klebsiella pneumoniae

Wei-feng Shi, Jun Zhou, Jian-ping Qin
Chinese Medical Journal 2009 May 5, 122 (9): 1092-6

BACKGROUND: AmpC beta-lactamases and extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) are becoming predominant causes of resistance to third and forth-generation cephalosporins in Klebsiella pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae). It is very difficult to treat infectious diseases caused by multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae. The purpose of the present study was to investigate transconjugation and characteristics of beta-lactamase genes in K. pneumoniae producing AmpC beta-lactamases and ESBLs.

METHODS: AmpC beta-lactamases were detected by three-dimension test and ESBLs by disc confirmatory test. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined by agar dilution. Transfer of resistance to EC600 (Rif(r)) was attempted by conjugation in broth and screened on agar containing cefotaxime (2 microg/ml) plus rifampin (1024 microg/ml). The genes encoding AmpC or ESBLs and their transconjugants were detected by PCR and verified by DNA sequencing.

RESULTS: The resistant rates to ampicillin and piperacillin were 100% in 18 isolates of K. pneumoniae. However, imipenem was still of great bactericidal activity on K. pneumoniae, and its MIC(50) was 0.5 microg/mL. Eleven beta-lactamase genes, including TEM-1, TEM-11, SHV-13, SHV-28, CTX-M-9, CTX-M-22, CTX-M-55, OXA-1, LEN, OKP-6 and DHA-1, were found from 18 isolates. And at least one beta-lactamase gene occurred in each isolate. To our surprise, there were six beta-lactamase genes in the CZ04 strain. Among 18 isolates of K. pneumoniae, the partial resistant genes in 8 isolates were conjugated successfully, which had 100% homological sequence with donors by sequence analysis. Compared with donors, 8 transconjugants had attained resistance to most beta-lactams, including ampicillin, piperacillin, cefoxitin, cefotaxime and aztreonam, or even amikacin and gentamicin.

CONCLUSIONS: R plasmids can be easily transferred between the resistant and sensitive negative bacilli. It is very difficult to block and prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance. So more attention should be paid to reducing the frequency, times and dosage of antimicrobials, especially third or fourth cephalosporins.

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