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J Clin Microbiol. 2008 Oct;46(10):3417-25. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00835-08. Epub 2008 Aug 27.

Urinary tract infections in a South American population: dynamic spread of class 1 integrons and multidrug resistance by homologous and site-specific recombination.

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Instituto de Química Biológica, Facultad de Ciencias-UDELAR, Montevideo, Uruguay.


One hundred four bacterial strains mediating urinary tract infections in separate individuals from a Uruguayan community were isolated. Forty-six strains conferred a multidrug resistance phenotype. All 104 strains were examined for the presence of class 1, 2, and 3 integrons. Class 1 integrons were found in 21 isolates across four distinct bacterial genera. A large class 1 integron in a Klebsiella pneumoniae strain was fully sequenced and was 29,093 bp in length. This integron probably arose by homologous recombination since it was embedded in a hybrid Tn21-like transposon backbone which comprised a Tn5036-like tnp transposition module at the IRi integron end and a Tn21 mer module at the IRt integron end. The parent integron/transposon that contributed the Tn5036 module was not related to Tn1696 since the integron insertion points in the transposon backbones were 16 bases apart. Examination of the other 20 class 1 integron-containing strains revealed further evidence of genetic exchange. This included a strain that possessed a Tn5036 module at the IRt end but not at the IRi end and another that possessed a tnp module beyond IRi that was a hybrid of Tn21 and Tn5051 and that is presumed to have arisen by site-specific recombination. This study highlights the ability of different genetic elements to act cooperatively to spread and rearrange antibiotic resistance in a community.

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