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J Clin Microbiol. 1996 Sep;34(9):2078-84.

Detection by PCR of the nim genes encoding 5-nitroimidazole resistance in Bacteroides spp.

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Unité des Anaérobies, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


A PCR method was developed for detection of the nim genes encoding 5-nitrolmidazole resistance in Bacteroides spp. Two PCR primers specific for nim genes were designed. They allowed amplification of a 458-bp fragment from all characterized plasmid- and chromosome-borne metronidazole resistance genes. The specificity of the method was tested with DNA from metronidazole-sensitive Bacteroides spp. strains and from other strains of unrelated species. Each DNA preparation was analyzed with and without an internal positive control to verify that the absence of PCR amplification product was not due to inhibition of the Taq polymerase inhibitors. By this technique, two newly discovered metronidazole-resistant clinical strains of Bacteroides fragilis were shown to harbor resistance genes undetectable by Southern blotting. In spite of the sequence divergence of the nim genes, the PCR method is thus suitable for epidemiological investigations. The amplification method also revealed that nim-related resistance genes were not present in either Streptomyces strain S6670, a natural producer of 2-nitroimidazole, or in Enterococcus faecalis strains, which have been suggested to possess metronidazole-inactivating enzyme.

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