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J Clin Microbiol. 2003 Dec;41(12):5429-33.

Changes in gene cassettes of class 1 integrons among Escherichia coli isolates from urine specimens collected in Korea during the last two decades.

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Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, 700-422, Korea.


Gene cassettes of class 1 integrons in Escherichia coli isolates from urine specimens collected in Korea during the last 2 decades were characterized. intI1 was detected in 54% of the isolates, yet gene cassette regions were amplified in only 43% of the isolates. intI2 was detected in 29 (5%) isolates, and no intI3 was detected in this study. Twenty-one different genes, including genes encoding resistance to antibiotics, an alcohol dehydrogenase gene (adhE), and unknown genes, were detected. The genes most commonly found in class 1 integrons were those for aminoglycoside and trimethoprim resistance. The occurrence of aminoglycoside resistance genes in class 1 integrons decreased, and the presence of dfr genes increased rapidly, during the last 2 decades. Single-gene cassettes were predominant during the 1980s, while multigene cassettes predominated from the 1990s on. The aadA1, aadA2, and blaP1-aadA2 gene cassettes were frequently found in isolates from the 1980s but were not detected in isolates recovered since 2000. dfrA12-aadA2 and dfrA17-aadA5 were the most prevalent gene cassettes among isolates recovered from the 1990s on. In conclusion, class 1 integrons would appear to be responsible for resistance to antibiotics commonly used to treat urinary tract infections, and selection of a specific gene cassette was found to occur over the course of time.

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