Characterization of the variable region in the class 1 integron of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli isolated from surface water

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Abstract

Fecal bacteria are considered to be a potential reservoir of antimicrobial resistance genesin the aquatic environment and could horizontally transfer these genes to autochthonousbacteria when carried on transferable and/or mobile genetic elements. Such circulation ofresistance genes constitutes a latent public health hazard. The aim of this study was to char-acterize the variable region of the class 1 integron and relate its genetic content to resistancepatterns observed in antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli isolated from the surface watersof Patos Lagoon, Southern Brazil. Genetic diversity of the isolates and presence of the qacE ∆1gene, which confers resistance to quaternary ammonium compounds, were also investi-gated. A total of 27 isolates were analyzed. The variable region harbored dfrA17, dfrA1 anddfrA12 genes, which confer resistance to trimethoprim, and aadA1, aadA5 and aadA22 genesthat encode resistance to streptomycin/spectinomycin. Most of the isolates were consideredresistant to quaternary ammonium compounds and all of them carried the qacE ∆1 gene atthe 3’conserved segment of the integron. ERIC-PCR analyses of E. coli isolates that presentedthe integrons showed great genetic diversity, indicating diverse sources of contamination inthis environment. These results suggest that fecal bacteria with class 1 integrons in aquaticenvironments are potentially important reservoirs of antibiotic-resistance genes and maytransfer these elements to other bacteria that are capable of infecting humans.

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Canal, N., Meneghetti, K. L., De Almeida, C. P., Da Rosa Bastos, M., Otton, L. M., & Corção, G. (2016). Characterization of the variable region in the class 1 integron of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli isolated from surface water. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, 47(2), 337–344. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjm.2016.01.015

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