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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 May;53(5):1892-7. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01400-08. Epub 2009 Mar 2.

New plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance gene, qnrC, found in a clinical isolate of Proteus mirabilis.

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  • 1Institute of Antibiotics, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, 12 M. Wulumuqi Rd., Shanghai 200040, People's Republic of China.


Since the discovery of qnrA in 1998, two additional qnr genes, qnrB and qnrS, have been described. These three plasmid-mediated genes contribute to quinolone resistance in gram-negative pathogens worldwide. A clinical strain of Proteus mirabilis was isolated from an outpatient with a urinary tract infection and was susceptible to most antimicrobials but resistant to ampicillin, sulfamethoxazole, and trimethoprim. Plasmid pHS10, harbored by this strain, was transferred to azide-resistant Escherichia coli J53 by conjugation. A transconjugant with pHS10 had low-level quinolone resistance but was negative by PCR for the known qnr genes, aac(6')-Ib-cr and qepA. The ciprofloxacin MIC for the clinical strain and a J53/pHS10 transconjugant was 0.25 microg/ml, representing an increase of 32-fold relative to that for the recipient, J53. The plasmid was digested with HindIII, and a 4.4-kb DNA fragment containing the new gene was cloned into pUC18 and transformed into E. coli TOP10. Sequencing showed that the responsible 666-bp gene, designated qnrC, encoded a 221-amino-acid protein, QnrC, which shared 64%, 42%, 59%, and 43% amino acid identity with QnrA1, QnrB1, QnrS1, and QnrD, respectively. Upstream of qnrC there existed a new IS3 family insertion sequence, ISPmi1, which encoded a frameshifted transposase. qnrC could not be detected by PCR, however, in 2,020 strains of Enterobacteriaceae. A new quinolone resistance gene, qnrC, was thus characterized from plasmid pHS10 carried by a clinical isolate of P. mirabilis.

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