qnr, aac(6')-Ib-cr and qepA genes in Escherichia coli and Klebsiella spp.: genetic environments and plasmid and chromosomal location

Elena Ruiz, Yolanda Sáenz, Myriam Zarazaga, Rosa Rocha-Gracia, Luis Martínez-Martínez, Guillaume Arlet, Carmen Torres
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2012, 67 (4): 886-97

OBJECTIVES: To characterize the location and genetic environments of qnr, aac(6')-Ib-cr and qepA genes related to quinolone resistance in 19 Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Klebsiella oxytoca strains.

METHODS: Genetic environments of the indicated genes were studied by cloning, PCR mapping and sequencing. The location of these genes was analysed by S1-PFGE and PFGE-I-CeuI and hybridization with specific probes. Associated antibiotic resistance mechanisms and molecular typing of strains were also investigated.

RESULTS: The studied strains carried the aac(6')-Ib-cr, qepA, qnrS1, qnrB6, qnrB4 and oqxAB genes, with aac(6')-Ib-cr being the most prevalent. E. coli strains belonged to sequence types (STs) ST648, ST131, ST224 and ST205, and K. pneumoniae strains to ST433, ST341, ST152, ST15 and ST431. Different genetic environments of quinolone resistance genes were observed, and some of them had not been previously detected and registered in GenBank. The aac(6')-Ib-cr gene was mainly located in class 1 integrons or associated with the Tn1721 transposon in E. coli and associated with the aac(3)-II gene in Klebsiella. All these structures contained mechanisms of gene acquisition and/or dissemination, such as IS26. The studied quinolone resistance genes were mostly detected in IncF and IncN plasmids in E. coli and in IncR plasmids in Klebsiella, but in some strains the chromosomal location of the aac(6')-Ib-cr gene was detected for the first time. The bla(CTX-M-15), bla(OXA-1), tet(A), aac(3)-II and aph(3')-Ia genes and class 1 integrons were found in most strains.

CONCLUSIONS: The aac(6')-Ib-cr gene was detected for the first time in the chromosome, although a plasmidic location was the most frequently found, with differentiation of plasmids types in E. coli versus Klebsiella.

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