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Characterization of Beta-lactamases in Faecal Enterobacteriaceae Recovered from Healthy Humans in Spain: Focusing on AmpC Polymorphisms

Porres-Osante, Nerea, Sáenz, Yolanda, Somalo, Sergio, Torres, Carmen
Microbial ecology 2015 v.70 no.1 pp. 132-140
Citrobacter braakii, Citrobacter freundii, Cronobacter, Enterobacter cloacae, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella oxytoca, Proteus mirabilis, Proteus vulgaris, Serratia, ampicillin, antibiotic resistance, bacteria, beta-lactamase, feces, genes, humans, hybridization, intestines, pathogens, people, phenotype, phylogeny, plasmids, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, resistance mechanisms, Spain
The intestinal tract is a huge reservoir of Enterobacteriaceae, some of which are opportunist pathogens. Several genera of these bacteria harbour intrinsic antibiotic resistance genes, such as ampC genes in species of Citrobacter, Enterobacter or Escherichia genera. In this work, beta-lactamases and other resistance mechanisms have been characterized in Enterobacteriaceae isolates recovered from healthy human faecal samples, focusing on the ampC beta-lactamase genes. Fifty human faecal samples were obtained, and 70 Enterobacteriaceae bacteria were isolated: 44 Escherichia coli, 4 Citrobacter braakii, 9 Citrobacter freundii, 8 Enterobacter cloacae, 1 Proteus mirabilis, 1 Proteus vulgaris, 1 Klebsiella oxytoca, 1 Serratia sp. and 1 Cronobacter sp. A high percentage of resistance to ampicillin was detected (57 %), observing the AmpC phenotype in 22 isolates (31 %) and the ESBL phenotype in 3 isolates. AmpC molecular characterization showed high diversity into bla CMY and bla ACT genes from Citrobacter and Enterobacter species, respectively, and the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis demonstrated low clonality among them. The prevalence of people colonized by strains carrying plasmid-mediated ampC genes obtained in this study was 2 %. The unique plasmid-mediated bla AₘₚC identified in this study was the bla CMY₋₂ gene, detected in an E. coli isolate ascribed to the sequence type ST405 which belonged to phylogenetic group D. The hybridization and conjugation experiments demonstrated that the ISEcp1-bla CMY₋₂-blc structure was carried by a ~78-kb self-transferable IncK plasmid. This study shows a high polymorphism among beta-lactamase genes in Enterobacteriaceae from healthy people microbiota. Extensive AmpC-carrier studies would provide important information and could allow the anticipation of future global health problems.