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J Bacteriol. 2001 Jan;183(1):235-49.

Characterization of In53, a class 1 plasmid- and composite transposon-located integron of Escherichia coli which carries an unusual array of gene cassettes.

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Service de Bactériologie-Virologie, Hôpital de Bicêtre, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Faculté de Médecine Paris-Sud, 94275 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France.


Further characterization of the genetic environment of the gene encoding the Escherichia coli extended-spectrum beta-lactamase, bla(VEB-1), revealed the presence of a plasmid-located class 1 integron, In53, which carried eight functional resistance gene cassettes in addition to bla(VEB-1). While the aadB and the arr-2 gene cassettes were identical to those previously described, the remaining cassettes were novel: (i) a novel nonenzymatic chloramphenicol resistance gene of the cmlA family, (ii) a qac allele encoding a member of the small multidrug resistance family of proteins, (iii) a cassette, aacA1b/orfG, which encodes a novel 6'-N-acetyltransferase, and (iv) a fused gene cassette, oxa10/aadA1, which is made of two cassettes previously described as single cassettes. In addition, oxa10 and aadA1 genes were expressed from their own promoter sequence present upstream of the oxa10 cassette. arr-2 coded for a protein that shared 54% amino acid identity with the rifampin ADP-ribosylating transferase encoded by the arr-1 gene from Mycobacterium smegmatis DSM43756. While in M. smegmatis, the main inactivated compound was 23-ribosyl-rifampin, the inactivated antibiotic recovered from E. coli culture was 23-O-ADP-ribosyl-rifampin. The integrase gene of In53 was interrupted by an IS26 insertion sequence, which was also present in the 3' conserved segment. Thus, In53 is a truncated integron located on a composite transposon, named Tn2000, bounded by two IS26 elements in opposite orientations. Target site duplication at both ends of the transposon indicated that the integron likely was inserted into the plasmid through a transpositional process. This is the first description of an integron located on a composite transposon.

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