Promiscuity of resistance plasmid unprecedented

Jan 04, 2012

Genetic analysis of an outbreak of drug-resistant infections in one institution shows an unprecedented level of transference of resistance among strains and even species of bacteria. Researchers from the University of Virginia and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report their findings in the current issue of the journal mBio.

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) have emerged as a major cause of health-care associated infections worldwide. The global spread of CRE has largely been attributed to dissemination of a dominant strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae which produces a compound called K. pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC). The gene for KPC is often contained on a plasmid, a that the bacteria can transmit to other bacteria.

In August 2007 the researchers identified their first known case of CRE at their institution, prompting them to immediately screen all clinical isolates for KPC production and conduct a molecular genetic analysis. Of 11 unique strains of different bacteria isolated from patients, 9 contained the same DNA plasmid with a specific for KPC.

“Here we report an outbreak of KPC-producing CRE infections in which the degree of horizontal transmission between strains and species of a promiscuous plasmid is unprecedented,” write the researchers. “The ease of horizontal transmission of carbapenem resistance observed in this study has serious public health and epidemiological implications.”

Explore further: New lab technique reveals structure and function of proteins critical in DNA repair

More information: mbio.asm.org/content/2/6/e00204-11

Related Stories

New drugs from mutant bugs

Apr 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists from the Universities of Birmingham and Bristol have discovered how marine bacteria join together two antibiotics they make independently to produce a potent chemical that can kill ...

Antibiotic resistance spreads rapidly between bacteria

Apr 11, 2011

The part of bacterial DNA that often carries antibiotic resistance is a master at moving between different types of bacteria and adapting to widely differing bacterial species, shows a study made by a research ...

Recommended for you

The mechanics of life

Apr 16, 2015

An interdisciplinary research team formed by Otger Campàs, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and colleague Jérome Gros, ...

New transitional stem cells discovered

Apr 16, 2015

Pre-eclampsia is a disease that affects 5 to 8 percent of pregnancies in America. Complications from this disease can lead to emergency cesarean sections early in pregnancies to save the lives of the infants and mothers. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.