Mechanisms of Resistance in Clinical Isolates ofEnterobacter cloacaethat Are Less Susceptible to Cefepime than to Ceftazidime

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Abstract.Thirty-two Enterobacter cloacae strains that are less susceptible to cefepime than to ceftazidime were collected. This unique phenotype of 8 strains was confirmed using the agar dilution method. OXA1, OXA10, OXA31 and OXA35 were detected in 3, 2, 3, and 2 strains, respectively, whereas all strains were negative for PSE-1 genes. OXA genes were also identified in the plasmid DNA of 5 strains, but only 2 strains were positive in a conjugation experiment. The acrA, acrB and tolC genes were identified in 4, 4 and 6 strains, respectively. Decreased expression of the acrA mRNA and overexpression of the acrB and tolC mRNAs were observed using real-time RT-PCR. Most of the bacteria (n=7) stably expressed the marA gene, which is a regulatory gene in the AcrAB-TolC multidrug efflux system, whereas all strains were negative for ramA. The acrA, acrB, tolC, acrR and marA genes were similar to the genes in reference strains in GenBank, with nucleotide homologies of 96%, 98%, 98%, 98% and 100%, respectively. In conclusion, the mechanism of resistance of Enterobacter cloacae with less susceptibility to cefepime than to ceftazidime is associated with the overexpression of AcrAB-TolC and the production of OXA1, XA10, OXA31 and OXA35.

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