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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2007 Apr;13(4):413-8.

Prevalence of AmpC over-expression in bloodstream isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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University of Houston College of Pharmacy, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


This study examined the contribution of AmpC over-expression to beta-lactam resistance in clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa obtained from a hospital in Houston, TX, USA. Seventy-six non-repeat bloodstream isolates obtained during 2003 were screened for ceftazidime resistance in the presence and absence of clavulanic acid 4 mg/L. AmpC was identified by isoelectric focusing (with and without cloxacillin inhibition); stable derepression was ascertained phenotypically by a spectrophotometric assay (with and without preceding induction by imipenem) using nitrocefin as the substrate, and was confirmed subsequently by quantitative RT-PCR of the ampC gene. The clonal relatedness of the AmpC-over-expressing isolates was assessed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. In addition, the ampC and ampR gene sequences were determined by PCR and sequencing. For comparison, two standard wild-type strains (PAO1 and ATCC 27853) and three multidrug-susceptible isolates were used as controls. AmpC over-expression was confirmed in 14 ceftazidime-resistant isolates (overall prevalence rate, 18.4%), belonging to seven distinct clones. The most prevalent point mutations in ampC were G27D, V205L and G391A. Point mutations in ampR were also detected in eight ceftazidime-resistant isolates. AmpC over-expression appears to be a significant mechanism of beta-lactam resistance in P. aeruginosa. Understanding the prevalence and mechanisms of beta-lactam resistance in P. aeruginosa may guide the choice of empirical therapy for nosocomial infections in hospitals.

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