Tuesday 18 January 2022

Escherichia coli resistance gene identified


Scientists have pinpointed a gene that helps E. coli bacteria evade antibiotics.


The University of Queensland-led study found a particular form of the bacteria -- E. coli ST131 -- had a previously unnoticed gene that made it highly resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics.

Escherichia coli sequence type 131 (ST131) is a major cause of urinary and bloodstream infections. Its association with extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) significantly complicates treatment. Isolates belonging to ST131 are identified by PCR and multilocus sequence typing (MLST), and then characterized for antibiotic resistance, CTX-M-type extended-spectrum β-lactamase genes, fluoroquinolone resistance genes, O types, phylogenetic groups, virulence factors and PFGE patterns.



Bacteria have genetic structures in their cells -- called plasmids -- that are traded quickly and easily between each other.  This resistance gene is in one such plasmid and is swiftly making E. coli ST131 extremely resistant to widely prescribed fluoroquinolone antibiotics. 

The findings have given the team the first clues to explain how antibiotic-resistant E. coli ST131 has emerged and spread so quickly around the world.




Minh-Duy Phan, Kate M. Peters, Laura Alvarez Fraga, Steven C. Wallis, Steven Hancock, Nguyen Thi Khanh Nhu, Brian Forde, Michelle J. Bauer, David L. Paterson, Scott A Beatson, Jeffrey Lipman, Mark A. Schembri. Plasmid-mediated ciprofloxacin resistance imparts a selective advantage on Escherichia coli ST131. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 2021; DOI: 10.1128/aac.02146-21


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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