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J Antimicrob Chemother. 1997 Jun;39(6):737-45.

Rarity of transferable beta-lactamase production by Klebsiella species.

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Department of Microbiology, UMDS, St Thomas's Campus, London, UK.


We report a survey of beta-lactamases and their transferability in Klebsiella spp. isolated from blood during 1992-95. beta-Lactamases were characterized by determination of isoelectric point (pI), by hybridization of plasmid DNA preparations with probes for SHV and TEM sequences and by PCR with SHV- or TEM-specific primers. There were 80 isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae and 22 isolates of Klebsiella oxytoca. Most isolates of K. pneumoniae had a chromosomally encoded SHV-1 beta-lactamase (or a closely related enzyme); K. oxytoca also produced chromosomal beta-lactamases, but these were distinct from SHV-1. Plasmid-encoded beta-lactamases were rare in Klebsiella spp., being found in six (7.5%) isolates of K. pneumoniae and in none of the K. oxytoca. beta-Lactamase activities were relatively low (< 100 nmoles nitrocefin hydrolysed per minute per mg of protein) and ampicillin MICs were < or = 128 mg/L for most isolates of both species. However, all isolates of K. pneumoniae with plasmid-encoded beta-lactamases, three other isolates of K. pneumoniae and three isolates of K. oxytoca had high beta-lactamase activities (> 100 nmoles/mg/min) and very high ampicillin MICs (> or = 1024 mg/L).

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