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Microb Drug Resist. 2011 Jun;17(2):157-63. doi: 10.1089/mdr.2010.0148. Epub 2011 Feb 19.

Characterization of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli by antimicrobial resistance profiles, plasmid replicon typing, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.

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  • 1Bacterial Epidemiology and Antimicrobial Resistance Research Unit, Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Athens, Georgia 30605-2720, USA.


The objective of this study was to examine the distribution of multidrug resistance in Escherichia coli in relation to plasmid replicon types, animal sources, and genotypes. E. coli isolates (n = 35) from seven different animal sources were selected and tested for susceptibility to 15 antimicrobials; pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was used to determine genetic relationships among the E. coli isolates. Plasmid types based on their incompatibility (Inc) replicon types were determined, and linkage disequilibrium analysis was performed for antimicrobial resistance profiles, replicon types, and animal source. A high degree of genotypic diversity was observed: 34 different pulsed-field gel electrophoresis types among the 35 isolates examined. Twelve different plasmid Inc types were detected, and all isolates carried at least one replicon type. IncF (n = 25; 71.4%) and IncFIB (n = 19; 54.3%) were the most common replicon types identified. Chloramphenicol resistance was significantly linked with four Inc types (A/C, FIIA, F, and Y), and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid was linked with three Inc types (B/O, P and Y). Resistance to any other antimicrobial was linked to two or fewer replicon types. The isolate source was linked with resistance to seven antimicrobials and IncI1. We conclude that commensal E. coli from animal sources are highly variable genotypically and are reservoirs of a diverse array of plasmids carrying antimicrobial resistance.

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