Prevalence of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance genes in uropathogenic Escherichia coli isolated in a teaching hospital of northern Italy

Rosario Musumeci, Marco Rausa, Roberto Giovannoni, Anna Cialdella, Simone Bramati, Bruno Sibra, Giuseppe Giltri, Franco Viganò, Clementina Elvezia Cocuzza
Microbial Drug Resistance: MDR: Mechanisms, Epidemiology, and Disease 2012, 18 (1): 33-41
A retrospective study was conducted to determine the prevalence of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) determinants in uropathogenic Escherichia coli isolated from inpatients and outpatients in a teaching hospital of northern Italy. The presence of qnrA, qnrB, qnrS, aac(6')-Ib-cr, and qepA was evaluated in 76 and 72 nalidixic acid-resistant E. coli, isolated in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Positivity for the aac(6')-Ib-cr gene was demonstrated in 3 of 76 (3.9%) and 8 of 72 (11%) isolates, respectively; no other PMQR determinant was found. All aac(6')-Ib-cr-positive strains also showed two point mutations in the gyrA and parC genes. Most aac(6')-Ib-cr-positive isolates demonstrated the contemporary presence of bla(CTX-M-15), bla(OXA-1/30), and bla(TEM-1) genes and 4/11 harbored a class 1 integron with a dfrA17-aadA5 gene cassette arrangement. Interestingly, all aac(6')-Ib-cr-positive isolates belonged to B2 phylogenetic group, O25b antigen type, multi locus sequence type 131, and to a cluster of approximately 70% similarity level by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). These findings suggest the circulation of the previously described intercontinentally spreading E. coli O25:H4-ST131 clone in our geographical area since 2004. Hybridization studies of the PFGE profiles showed the aac(6')-Ib-cr gene to be associated with different molecular weight bands (40-350 kb) and interestingly aac(6')-Ib-cr chromosomal integration was demonstrated in one strain by I-Ceu I method. This represents the first report to investigate the presence and diffusion of PMQR determinants in northern Italy and to describe aac(6')-Ib-cr chromosomal integration in E. coli.

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