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Water Res. 2014 Jan 1;48:100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2013.09.021. Epub 2013 Sep 19.

Co-resistance to different classes of antibiotics among ESBL-producers from aquatic systems.

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Department of Biology and CESAM, University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal. Electronic address:


In this study we investigated the co-occurrence of resistance to non-beta-lactams among cefotaxime-resistant extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producers (ESBL(+)) versus non-ESBL producers (ESBL(-)), from aquatic environments. Higher prevalence of resistance to tetracycline, fluoroquinolones and aminoglycosides were observed in ESBL(+). Among ESBL(+) resistant to tetracycline (n = 18), tet(A) was detected in 88.9% and tet(B) in 16.7%. Among fluoroquinolone-resistant-ESBL(+) (n = 15), aacA4-cr and qnrVC4 were identified in 26.6% and 40% strains, respectively. The qnrVC4 gene was detected for the first time in Pseudomonas sp. and Escherichia coli. Class 1 integrase genes were detected in 56.41% of ESBL(+) and in 27.67% ESBL(-). Gene cassette arrays identified conferred resistance to aminoglycosides (aadA-type genes and aacA4), trimethoprim (dfrA17), chloramphenicol (catB8), fluoroquinolones (qnrVC4) and beta-lactams (blaOXA-10). Conjugation experiments were performed with CTX-M-producers. Transconjugants showed multiresistance to 3 or more classes of antibiotics, and conjugative plasmids were assigned to IncF, IncK and IncI1 replicons. Results obtained showed that co-selection of resistance to aminoglycosides, quinolones and tetracyclines is prevalent among ESBL-producers and that these features are successfully mobilized by IncF, IncK and IncI1 conjugative plasmids. This study reinforces the importance of natural aquatic systems as reservoir of mobile genetic platforms carrying multiple resistance determinants. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, this constitutes the first observation of IncK::CTX-M-3 in Aeromonas hydrophila and the first report of IncK plasmids in Portugal.


ESBLs; Integron; Multiresistance; Plasmid typing; River; qnrVC

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