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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2008 Dec;32(6):534-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2008.06.012. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Emergence of imipenem resistance in clinical Escherichia coli during therapy.

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Antibiotic Laboratory, Bacteriology Service, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Carretera Pozuelo a Majadahonda, 28220 Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain.


The molecular epidemiology and the mechanisms of resistance of Escherichia coli isolated from two patients infected by imipenem-resistant strains are reported in this study. From one patient, three closely related consecutive isolates of E. coli were recovered; the first was carbapenem-susceptible but acquired imipenem resistance after treatment with ertapenem, and the third isolate was again imipenem-susceptible. An additional imipenem-resistant isolate was recovered from another patient who received imipenem. The genetic relatedness of the E. coli isolates was determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) after digestion with XbaI. Standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) conditions were used to amplify several beta-lactamase genes coding for carbapenemases, extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) and plasmid-mediated AmpC; the E. coli ampC gene promoter was also amplified and sequenced. Primers OmpF-F/OmpF-R and OmpC-F/OmpC-R were used to amplify the ompF and ompC genes. The outer membrane protein (OMP) profiles were studied by sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Imipenem-resistant E. coli isolates did not produce carbapenemases but lacked the two major OMPs OmpF and OmpC and had ampC promoter mutations; in addition, one of the imipenem-resistant isolates produced the CMY-2 cephalosporinase, whilst the other produced the new CTX-M-67 ESBL. Carbapenem resistance in this study was associated with lack of expression of OmpF and OmpC porins. Additional mechanisms of beta-lactam resistance, such as plasmid-mediated AmpC and ESBL production, were also found. Development of carbapenem resistance in a CTX-M-67-producing E. coli is first described in this study.

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