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Zentralbl Bakteriol Orig A. 1976 Apr;234(3):371-83.

[Resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics and aminoglycosides in gram negative bacteria. 1. Molecular and genetic characterization of R-factors (author's transl)].

[Article in German]

Abstract

With frequent use of aminoglycoside antimicrobials and beta-lactam antibiotics in hospitals in the last few years, the number of bacterial strains resistant to these chemotherapeutics increased. Lately, strains of E. coli, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Serratia, Proteus and Pseudomonas resistant to many antimicrobials (ampicillin, carbenicillin, cephalothin, chloramphenicol, gentamycin, tobramycin, sisomycin, neomycin, paromomycin, kanamycin, streptomycin, spectinomycin, tetracycline, sulphonamides) were isolated from patients of the university hospital in Zuerich. The resistant phenotype of two representative strains (Klebsiella pneumoniae 1 and Serratia marcescens 2) could be transferred by mixed cultivation to E. coli K-12. Multiple resistance of strain 1, and addition, could be transferred to Salmonella typhimurium, Serratia marcescens, Providencia, Proteus mirabilis and Klebsiella pneumoniae in varying frequencies. Transfer to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, however, could not be achieved. Spontaneous instability of resistance was observed in 0.15% of the cells of an overnight brothe culture and in 90% of the cells of a three months old culture. Conjugation, instability and the response to the sex phages MS-2 and If-1 suggested that resistance was mediated by a monomolecular R-factor, belonging to the fi+-type. This suggestion was confirmed by molecular characterization of the resistance plasmids. After transfer of the R-factors of K. pneumoniae 1 (R-FK 1) and Serratia marcescens 2 (R-FK2) into E. coli K-12, plasmid DNA was labelled with (methyl-3H) thymidine, and isolated by isopycnic centrifugation in cesiumchlorid-ethidium-bromide. Analysis of plasmid DNA then was carried out by sedimentation in a 5-20% neutral sucrose gradient together with reference plasmids of known molecular weights and sedimentation constants. The analysis revealed that R-FK1 had a molecular weight of 54 X 10(6) and R-FK2 of 50 X 10(6) daltons. The values were confirmed by contour length measurements of open circular forms with an electron microscope. A comparison of the sedimentation profile of labelled plasmid DNA from strain 1 and 14C-labelled DNA of E. coli K-12 (R-FK1) showed that the wild-type strain contained, besides the large resistance plasmid, at least two smaller "cryptic" plasmids. These smaller plasmid molecules were also found in antibiotic susceptible variants of strain 1, which did not contain the 54 X 10(6) dalton plasmid molecule, responsible for the resistant phenotype. The number of copies of R-FK1 in E. coli K-12 was determined to be 2, indicating stringent control of replication. It is discussed that the growing number of isolations of strains of Escherichia, Klebsiella, Serratia, Proteus, Providencia and Pseudomonas, exhibiting the same resistance phenotype, results from the spread of the R-factor described above among the hospital bacterial flora.

PMID:
779353
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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