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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2001 Oct;45(10):2716-22.

Evidence for transfer of CMY-2 AmpC beta-lactamase plasmids between Escherichia coli and Salmonella isolates from food animals and humans.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa College of Medicine, 200 Hawkins Dr., Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Escherichia coli is an important pathogen that shows increasing antimicrobial resistance in isolates from both animals and humans. Our laboratory recently described Salmonella isolates from food animals and humans that expressed an identical plasmid-mediated, AmpC-like beta-lactamase, CMY-2. In the present study, 59 of 377 E. coli isolates from cattle and swine (15.6%) and 6 of 1,017 (0.6%) isolates of human E. coli from the same geographic region were resistant to both cephamycins and extended-spectrum cephalosporins. An ampC gene could be amplified with CMY-2 primers in 94.8% of animal and 33% of human isolates. Molecular epidemiological studies of chromosomal DNA revealed little clonal relatedness among the animal and human E. coli isolates harboring the CMY-2 gene. The ampC genes from 10 animal and human E. coli isolates were sequenced, and all carried an identical CMY-2 gene. Additionally, all were able to transfer a plasmid containing the CMY-2 gene to a laboratory strain of E. coli. CMY-2 plasmids demonstrated two different plasmid patterns that each showed strong similarities to previously described Salmonella CMY-2 plasmids. Additionally, Southern blot analyses using a CMY-2 probe demonstrated conserved fragments among many of the CMY-2 plasmids identified in Salmonella and E. coli isolates from food animals and humans. These data demonstrate that common plasmids have been transferred between animal-associated Salmonella and E. coli, and identical CMY-2 genes carried by similar plasmids have been identified in humans, suggesting that the CMY-2 plasmid has undergone transfer between different bacterial species and may have been transmitted between food animals and humans.

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