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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2010 May;35(5):492-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2010.01.012. Epub 2010 Feb 25.

Genetic environment of sul genes and characterisation of integrons in Escherichia coli isolates of blood origin in a Spanish hospital.

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Area de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Universidad de La Rioja, 26006 Logroño, Spain.


The prevalence and characterisation of integrons and the genetic environment of sulphonamide resistance genes were studied in 135 Escherichia coli isolates recovered from blood cultures in a Spanish hospital during 2007. Class 1 and 2 integrons were identified in 54 isolates (intI1, 52 isolates; intI2, 1 isolate; and intI1+intI2, 1 isolate). Of the 53 intI1-positive isolates, 36 (67.9%) contained the classic class 1 integron including the qacEDelta1-sul1 region, and 11 different gene cassette arrangements were demonstrated in 33 of these isolates. Seventeen intI1-positive isolates lacked the qacEDelta1-sul1 region, and 8 gene cassette arrangements were demonstrated in 12 of these isolates. Seventy-one isolates showed a sulphonamide-resistant phenotype, 63 of which contained sul genes. The sul1 gene was associated with intI1 in 36 of 42 sul1-positive isolates, and the sul3 gene was associated with non-classic class 1 integrons in 5 of 7 sul3-positive isolates. Finally, sul2 was found associated with strA-strB genes in 32 of 35 sul2-positive isolates, identifying 11 genetic structures, 1 of them presenting the IS150 element disrupting the strB gene; this structure was included in GenBank with accession no. FJ705354. Almost one-half of the E. coli isolates from blood cultures contained integrons and sul genes. Moreover, sul genes were detected in different structures, one of them new, and could be important determinants in antibiotic resistance dissemination.

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