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J Antimicrob Chemother. 1997 Aug;40(2):171-8.

Distribution and expression of beta-lactamase genes among Aeromonas spp.

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Bristol Centre for Antimicrobial Research and Evaluation, Department of Microbiology and Pathology, Medical School, University of Bristol, UK.


Clinical and environmental isolates of Aeromonas spp. (20 Aeromonas caviae, 33 Aeromonas veronii and 21 Aeromonas hydrophila) were examined for their ability to yield mutants derepressed for beta-lactamase production and for the distribution of the three chromosomally encoded beta-lactamase genes, ampS and cepS from A. veronii bv. sobria and cphA from A. hydrophila. Of these isolates, 100% and 96% of the isolates from A. hydrophila and A. caviae, respectively, yielded beta-lactamase derepressed mutants but only 38% of A. veronii isolates yielded the resistant phenotype at 37 degrees C. However, when tested at 30 degrees C, all isolates gave rise to the derepressed mutants, indicating a temperature effect on the control mechanism. All mutants had significantly higher beta-lactamase activity against ampicillin, oxacillin, cephaloridine and imipenem. Hybridization studies with cloned aeromonas beta-lactamase genes indicated that the cephalosporinase gene, cepS, is almost ubiquitous for the three species tested. The cphA gene cross-hybridized with all isolates of A. veronii and A. hydrophila but not to A. caviae isolates. In contrast, hybridization studies using ampS revealed that only 25% of A. caviae, 45% of A. veronii and 38% of A. hydrophila tested carried the ampS gene or one closely homologous to it. Nonetheless, strains that failed to hybridize with ampS showed two serine beta-lactamases when analysed by isoelectric focusing.

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