Journal Article

Prevalence of <i>dfr</i> genes associated with integrons and dissemination of <i>dfrA17</i> among urinary isolates of <i>Escherichia coli</i> in Korea

Hak Sun Yu, Je Chul Lee, Hee Young Kang, Young Sook Jeong, Eun Young Lee, Chul Hee Choi, Seong Ho Tae, Yoo Chul Lee, Sung Yong Seol and Dong Taek Cho

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Published on behalf of British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 53, issue 3, pages 445-450
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI:
Prevalence of dfr genes associated with integrons and dissemination of dfrA17 among urinary isolates of Escherichia coli in Korea

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Objectives: The association of trimethoprim-resistant dfr genes with integrons was investigated in urinary Escherichia coli isolates in Korea from the last two decades.

Methods: Of 623 E. coli isolates from urine specimens, 421 trimethoprim-resistant isolates were studied for dfr genes associated with integrons. Integrase genes were amplified and the PCR products restricted using HinfI to classify integron types. Gene cassette regions for the class 1 and class 2 integrons were amplified and sequenced. PFGE was performed to determine the epidemiological relationship of E. coli isolates.

Results: The carriage of class 1 integrons was found to be significantly higher in trimethoprim-resistant isolates (69%) than in trimethoprim-susceptible isolates (19%). Among the trimethoprim-resistant isolates, the frequency of dfr genes associated with class 1 integrons increased sharply from 10% of the isolates during 1980–1985 to 53% during 1996–1997 and to 46% during 2001–2002. Five different dfr cassettes—dfrA1, dfrA5, dfrA7, dfrA12 and dfrA17—were identified among the urinary E. coli isolates from the last two decades; dfrA12 was the most prevalent during 1980–1985 and dfrA17 during 1996–1997 and 2001–2002. The majority of dfr genes associated with class 1 integrons were conjugally transferable to recipient E. coli strains. The E. coli isolates that carried dfrA17 associated with class 1 integrons were found to be phylogenetically unrelated, indicating that dfrA17 was widely distributed in the different clones of E. coli.

Conclusion: Class 1 integrons were found to be an important genetic element of resistance to trimethoprim among urinary E. coli in Korea, and the prevalence of dfrA17 was mainly due to the horizontal transfer of class 1 integrons through conjugative plasmids.

Keywords: Keywords: trimethoprim, E. coli, resistance, conjugative plasmids

Journal Article.  4453 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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