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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1999 Apr;43(4):890-901.

Structure of In31, a blaIMP-containing Pseudomonas aeruginosa integron phyletically related to In5, which carries an unusual array of gene cassettes.

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Laboratoire d'Enzymologie, Institut de Chimie, Université de Liège, Belgium.


The location and environment of the acquired blaIMP gene, which encodes the IMP-1 metallo-beta-lactamase, were investigated in a Japanese Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical isolate (isolate 101/1477) that produced the enzyme. In this isolate, blaIMP was carried on a 36-kb plasmid, and similar to the identical alleles found in Serratia marcescens and Klebsiella pneumoniae clinical isolates, it was located on a mobile gene cassette inserted into an integron. The entire structure of this integron, named In31, was determined. In31 is a class 1 element belonging to the same group of defective transposon derivatives that originated from Tn402-like ancestors such as In0, In2, and In5. The general structure of In31 appeared to be most closely related to that of In5 from pSCH884, suggesting a recent common phylogeny for these two elements. In In31, the blaIMP cassette is the first of an array of five gene cassettes that also includes an aacA4 cassette and three original cassettes that have never been described in other integrons. The novel cassettes carry, respectively, (i) a new chloramphenicol acetyltransferase-encoding allele of the catB family, (ii) a qac allele encoding a new member of the small multidrug resistance family of proteins, and (iii) an open reading frame encoding a protein of unknown function. All the resistance genes carried on cassettes inserted in In31 were found to be functional in decreasing the in vitro susceptibilities of host strains to the corresponding antimicrobial agents.

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