Dissemination of imipenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii with new plasmid-borne bla(OXA-72) in Taiwan

Shu-Chen Kuo, Su-Pen Yang, Yi-Tzu Lee, Han-Chuan Chuang, Chien-Pei Chen, Chi-Ling Chang, Te-Li Chen, Po-Liang Lu, Po-Ren Hsueh, Chang-Phone Fung
BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13: 319

BACKGROUND: The systemic surveillance of imipenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (IRAB) from multicenters in Taiwan revealed the emergence of isolates with bla(OXA-72). This study described their genetic makeup, mechanism of spread, and contribution to carbapenem resistance.

METHODS: Two hundred and ninety-one non-repetitive isolates of A. baumannii were collected from 10 teaching hospitals from different geographical regions in Taiwan from June 2007 to September 2007. Minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined by agar dilution. Clonality was determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Plasmid was extracted and digested by restriction enzymes, and subsequently analyzed by electrophoresis and Southern blot for bla(OXA-72). The flanking regions of bla(OXA-72) were determined by inverse PCR. The contribution of bla(OXA-72) to imipenem MIC was determined by transforming plasmids carrying bla(OXA-72) into imipenem-susceptible A. baumannii.

RESULTS: Among 142 IRAB in Taiwan, 27 harbored bla(OXA-72); 22 originated from Southern Taiwan, 5 from Central Taiwan, and none from Northern Taiwan. There were two major clones. The bla(OXA-72) was identified in the plasmids of all isolates. Two genetic structures flanking plasmid-borne bla(OXA-72) were identified and shared identical sequences in certain regions; the one described in previous literature was present in only one isolate, and the new one was present in the remaining isolates. Introduction of bla(OXA-72) resulted in an increase of imipenem MIC in the transformants. The overexpression of bla(OXA-72) mRNA in response to imipenem further supported the contribution of bla(OXA-72).

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, isolates with new plasmid-borne blaOXA-72 were found to be disseminated successfully in Southern Taiwan. The spread of the resistance gene depended on clonal spread and dissemination of a new plasmid. Bla(OXA-72) in these isolates directly led to their imipenem-resistance.

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