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PLoS One. 2014 Feb 25;9(2):e90046. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090046. eCollection 2014.

The complex genetic context of blaPER-1 flanked by miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements in Acinetobacter johnsonii.

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Center of Infectious Diseases, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China ; Division of Infectious Diseases, The State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.


On a large plasmid of Acinetobacter johnsonii strain XBB1 from hospital sewage, blaPER-1 and ISCR1 were found in a complex Tn402-like integron carrying an arr3-aacA4 cassette array. The integron was truncated by the same 439-bp miniature inverted-repeat transposable element (MITE) at both ends. blaPER-1 and its complex surroundings might have been mobilized by the MITEst into an orf of unknown function, evidenced by the presence of the characteristic 5-bp direct target repeats. The same 439-bp MITEs have also been found flanking class 1 integrons carrying metallo-β-lactamases genes bla IMP-1, bla IMP-5 and bla VIM-2 before but without ISCR1. Although the cassette arrays are different, integrons have always been truncated by the 439-bp MITEs at the exact same locations. The results suggested that MITEs might be able to mobilize class 1 integrons via transposition or homologous recombination and therefore represent a possible common mechanism for mobilizing antimicrobial resistance determinants.

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