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Heterogeneity of resistance elements in clinical isolates of enterococci with high-level gentamicin resistance



Heterogeneity of resistance elements in clinical isolates of enterococci with high-level gentamicin resistance



Journal of the Formosan Medical Association 97(12): 855-859



High-level resistance (minimum inhibitory concentration, MIC > 1,000 micrograms/ml) to gentamicin (HLGR) in enterococci is common in Taiwan. In this study, we investigated the distribution of gentamicin resistance elements in enterococci isolated at National Taiwan University Hospital in a 1-year period, and also examined the transfer and the genetic variability of the resistance elements of different isolates. Among 109 isolates tested, 43 (39%) HLGR isolates were identified. HLGR was most common in Enterococcus faecium isolates (7/15, 47%), followed by Enterococcus faecalis (34/80, 43%), Enterococcus avium (1/5, 20%), and Enterococcus casseliflavus (1/9, 11%). To understand the mechanism of resistance transfer, four isolates of E. faecalis and five isolates of E. faecium showing HLGR were studied. Transfer of resistance markers to a plasmid-free recipient strain of E. faecalis JH2-7 was observed, with transfer frequencies ranging from 10(-2) to 10(-8). All of the transconjugants contained plasmids, with sizes ranging from 45 kb to larger than 70 kb. At least three plasmid patterns were observed on digestion with HaeIII. Hybridization with a probe specific for the aac6'aph2" gentamicin resistance gene confirmed that all of these HLGR isolates carried a Gm(r) determinant, though the hybridization patterns of the plasmids from E. faecalis and E. faecium were different. Although many similarities exist among enterococcal Gm(r) determinants, the results suggest heterogeneity may occur in the flanking regions of resistance elements.

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Accession: 046244756

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PMID: 9884489


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