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Microbiology. 1999 Oct;145 ( Pt 10):2857-62.

Emergence of multidrug-resistant mutants is increased under antibiotic selective pressure in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Departamento de Biotecnología Microbiana, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CSIC), Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the most important opportunistic pathogens involved in nosocomial infections, cystic fibrosis patients included. Hospital isolates frequently present multidrug-resistance (MDR) phenotypes as the consequence of constant antibiotic selective pressure. The kinetics of emergence of P. aeruginosa MDR mutants under antibiotic selective pressure indicated that long-term incubation in the presence of the bacteriostatic antibiotic tetracycline increases the mutation rate per cell per day of P. aeruginosa PAO1 by several orders of magnitude. The tetracycline-resistant mutants obtained were stable, showed decreased susceptibility to antibiotics belonging to different structural families, and contained an outer-membrane protein not present in the wild-type P. aeruginosa strain PAO1. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that incubation in the presence of tetracycline favours the emergence of MDR mutants in P. aeruginosa. The results are relevant for understanding the rapid emergence of antibiotic-resistant mutants among bacterial populations during infections. Their relationship to other models of increased mutagenesis under stress is discussed with respect to the adaptive mutation phenomenon.

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