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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2018 Mar 1;84(6). pii: e02430-17. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02430-17. Print 2018 Mar 15.

Molecular Epidemiology of Dairy Cattle-Associated Escherichia coli Carrying blaCTX-M Genes in Washington State.

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Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, WSU, Pullman, Washington, USA.
Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, WSU, Pullman, Washington, USA.
Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, WSU, Pullman, Washington, USA.
Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, WSU, Pullman, Washington, USA
Contributed equally


An increase in the prevalence of commensal Escherichia coli carrying blaCTX-M genes among dairy cattle was observed between 2008 and 2012 in Washington State. To study the molecular epidemiology of this change, we selected 126 blaCTX-M-positive and 126 blaCTX-M-negative isolates for determinations of the multilocus sequence types (MLSTs) and antibiotic resistance phenotypes from E. coli obtained during a previous study. For 99 isolates, we also determined the blaCTX-M alleles using PCR and sequencing and identified the replicon types of blaCTX-M-carrying plasmids. The blaCTX-M-negative E. coli isolates comprised 76 sequence types (STs) compared with 32 STs in blaCTX-M-positive E. coli isolates. The blaCTX-M-positive E. coli isolates formed three MLST clonal complexes, accounting for 83% of these isolates; 52% of blaCTX-M-negative E. coli isolates clustered into 10 clonal complexes, and the remainder were singletons. Overall, blaCTX-M-negative E. coli isolates had more diverse genotypes that were distinct to farms, whereas blaCTX-M-positive E. coli isolates had a clonal population structure and were widely disseminated on farms in both regions included in the study. Plasmid replicon types included IncI1 which predominated, followed by IncFIB and IncFIA/FIB. blaCTX-M-15 was the predominant CTX-M gene allele, followed by blaCTX-M-27 and blaCTX-M-14 There was no significant association between plasmid replicon types and bacterial STs, and neither clonal complexes nor major plasmid groups were associated with two discrete dairy-farming regions of Washington State.IMPORTANCE Infections caused by extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli occur globally and present treatment challenges because of their resistance to multiple antimicrobial drugs. Cattle are potential reservoirs of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae, and so understanding the causes of successful dissemination of blaCTX-M genes in commensal bacteria will inform future approaches for the prevention of antibiotic-resistant pathogen emergence.


Escherichia coli; dairy cattle; extended-spectrum β-lactamases; molecular epidemiology; plasmids; sequence types

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