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Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2003 Oct;5(4):113-22.

Plasmid-mediated antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella enterica.

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Lab. Bacteriology and Medical Mycology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.


The selective pressure imposed by the use of antimicrobials in both human and veterinary medicine promotes the spread of multiple antimicrobial resistance. The dissemination of antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella enterica strains, causing severe enteritis in human, has been reported worldwide and is largely attributed to conjugative DNA exchange. In the present review, the relevance of plasmids to the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance in S. enterica is discussed. Recent examples of plasmid-mediated resistance to expanded-spectrum cephalosporins are reported to illustrate the severity of current situation in enteric pathogens. The exchanges between plasmid(s) and the bacterial chromosome and the integration of resistance genes into specialised genetic elements, called integrons, play a major role in acquisition and dissemination of resistance genes. The evolution of a plasmid through the acquisition of integrons is reported, describing novel mechanisms for short-term accumulation of resistance determinants in plasmids circulating in Salmonella.

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