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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2017 Dec 1;72(12):3317-3324. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkx327.

Identification of a novel transposon-associated phosphoethanolamine transferase gene, mcr-5, conferring colistin resistance in d-tartrate fermenting Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Paratyphi B.

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German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, BfR, Department for Biological Safety, Berlin, Germany.
National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, WHO Collaborating Center for Antimicrobial Resistance in Foodborne Pathogens and European Union Reference Laboratory for Antimicrobial Resistance, Kgs Lyngby, Denmark.



Plasmid-mediated mobilized colistin resistance is currently known to be caused by phosphoethanolamine transferases termed MCR-1, MCR-2, MCR-3 and MCR-4. However, this study focuses on the dissection of a novel resistance mechanism in mcr-1-, mcr-2- and mcr-3-negative d-tartrate fermenting Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Paratyphi B (Salmonella Paratyphi B dTa+) isolates with colistin MIC values >2 mg/L.


A selected isolate from the strain collection of the German National Reference Laboratory for Salmonella was investigated by WGS and bioinformatical analysis to identify novel phosphoethanolamine transferase genes involved in colistin resistance. Subsequently PCR screening, S1-PFGE and DNA-DNA hybridization were performed to analyse the prevalence and location of the identified mcr-5 gene. Cloning and transformation experiments in Escherichia coli DH5α and Salmonella Paratyphi B dTa+ control strains were carried out and the activity of MCR-5 was determined in vitro by MIC testing.


In this study, we identified a novel phosphoethanolamine transferase in 14 mcr-1-, mcr-2- and mcr-3-negative Salmonella Paratyphi B dTa+ isolates with colistin MIC values >2 mg/L that were received during 2011-13. The respective gene, further termed as mcr-5 (1644 bp), is part of a 7337 bp transposon of the Tn3 family and usually located on related multi-copy ColE-type plasmids. Interestingly, in one isolate an additional subclone with a chromosomal location of the mcr-5 transposon was observed.


Our findings suggest that the transfer of colistin-resistance-mediating phosphoethanolamine transferase genes from bacterial chromosomes to mobile genetic elements has occurred in multiple independent events raising concern regarding their variety, prevalence and impact on public health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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