Send to

Choose Destination
Gut Pathog. 2019 Jan 31;11:2. doi: 10.1186/s13099-019-0282-0. eCollection 2019.

Prevalence and molecular determinants of colistin resistance among commensal Enterobacteriaceae isolated from poultry in northwest of Iran.

Author information

1Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.
2Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Islamic Azad University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran.



The emergence of colistin-resistant Enterobacteriaceae from human and animal sources is a public health concern as this antibiotic is considered to be the last line therapeutic option for infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Here we aimed to determine the prevalence of colistin resistance, among enterobacteria isolated from poultry and the possible underlying colistin resistance mechanisms.


A collection of 944 cloacal samples were obtained from poultry and screened for colistin resistance. To uncover the molecular mechanism behind colistin resistance, the presence of plasmid encoded colistin resistance genes mcr-1, mcr-2, mcr-3 and mcr-4 was examined by PCR. The nucleotide sequences of the mgrB, pmrA, pmrB, phoP, phoQ, crrA and crrB genes were determined. The genetic relatedness of the colistin resistant (ColR) isolates was evaluated by Multilocus sequence typing. Three ColR mutants were generated in vitro by repetitive drug exposure.


Overall from 931 enteric bacteria isolated from poultry samples obtained from 131 farms, nine ColR bacteria (0.96%) with high level colistin resistance (MICs ≥ 64 mg/L) were detected all being identified as K. pneumoniae. The 9 ColR bacteria originated from different farms and belonged to 7 distinct Sequence types including ST11 (22.2%) and ST726 (22.2%) being the most prevalent STs followed by ST37, ST74, ST485, ST525 and novel sequence type 3380 (11.1% each). mcr-type genes were not detected in any isolate. In 88.8% of the isolates (n = 8), MgrB was inactivated by Insertion of IS elements (IS1-like, IS3-like, IS5-like families, positions + 75, + 113, + 117, + 135) and nonsense mutations at codons 8, 16, 30. All ColR isolates harboured wild type PmrA, PhoP, PhoQ or polymorphic variants of PmrB. Sequence analysis of the CrrB revealed a familiar S195N and 4 novel I27V, T150R, F303S and K325R substitutions. PmrB T93N substitution and mgrB locus deletion were identified in two laboratory induced ColR mutants and one mutant lacked alteration in the studied loci. In one ColR isolate with wild type MgrB an A83V substitution was detected in CrrA.


It is concluded from our results that colistin resistance in the studied avian K. pneumoniae isolates was mostly linked to alterations identified within the mgrB gene.


Colistin resistance; Food-producing animals; Gut microbiota

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center