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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1992 Feb 1;70(1):21-9.

A silent carbapenemase gene in strains of Bacteroides fragilis can be expressed after a one-step mutation.

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Laboratoire de Microbiologie Médicale, Université Paris VI, France.


High-level carbapenem-resistant (CpmR) mutants, with MICs for imipenem and carbapenem of greater than 128 micrograms/ml, were selected in vitro from four carbapenem-susceptible (CpmS) clinical isolates of Bacteroides fragilis. The CpmS strains produced very low levels of beta-lactamase activity, which was increased approx. 50- to 100-fold in the CpmR mutants. Isoelectric focussing and enzyme kinetic analysis (Km and Vrel) of the 'carbapenemases' from the CpmR mutants and similarly resistant clinical isolates suggested a close relatedness of the enzymes. A probe covering most of the cfiA gene encoding such an enzyme (Thompson, J.S. and Malamy, M.H. (1990) J. Bacteriol. 172, 2584-2593) hybridized with DNA from the CpmR mutants, their CpmS parental strains as well as clinical CpmR isolates, but not from randomly chosen carbapenem-susceptible strains. The possibility is considered that mutations leading to expression of the silent carbapenemase gene, and thereby to clinically relevant carbapenem resistance, may also occur in the clinical setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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