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Prevalence and characterization of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance genes in Salmonella isolated from poultry in Korea

Kim, Jin Hyun, Cho, Jae Keun, Kim, Ki Seuk
Avian pathology 2013 v.42 no.3 pp. 221-229
Escherichia coli, Salmonella, bacteria, birds, ciprofloxacin, farms, genes, hatcheries, hybridization, minimum inhibitory concentration, mutation, nalidixic acid, plasmids, poultry, public health, slaughterhouses, surveys, Korean Peninsula
The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and characteristics of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) genes qnr, aac(6′)-Ib-cr, and qepA in a total of 185 non-duplicate Salmonella spp. isolated from hatcheries, poultry farms, and poultry slaughterhouses during the period 2001 to 2010 in Korea. Additionally, mutation analysis of quinolone resistance determining regions (QRDRs), conjugation experiments, and plasmid analysis were performed in the PMQR-positive isolates. Among the 185 isolates, six (3.2%) contained qnr genes (two qnrB4 and four qnrS1) but none carried the aac(6′)-Ib-cr or qepA genes. Among the six PMQR-positive isolates, one showed a single mutation (Ser83-Phe substitution) in the QRDRs of gyrA. Among them, three were non-susceptible (intermediate or resistant) to nalidixic acid (minimum inhibitory concentration [MIC] ≥256 µg/ml), ciprofloxacin (MIC 2 µg/ml), and levofloxacin (MIC 4 µg/ml), but others were susceptible to all of the three fluoroquinolones. They were resistant to six or more antimicrobial agents tested and were able to transfer quinolone resistance to recipient Escherichia coli J53 by conjugation. By performing a hybridization test, plasmids harbouring qnrB4 and qnrS1 genes were less than 8 kb and about 70 kb in size, respectively. The horizontal dissemination of qnrS1 gene was mediated by IncN plasmid. Compared with the recipient strain, MICs of the transconjugants increased two-fold to four-fold for nalidixic acid, and eight-fold to 16-fold for ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin. This report is the first to describe the detection of qnr genes in Salmonella spp. isolated from poultry in Korea. Widespread horizontal transfer of these genes among bacteria may be a serious public health concern because these can rapidly increase fluoroquinolone resistance. To ensure the public health, it is essential to continuously survey and carefully monitor the spread of PMQR genes in Salmonella from poultry.