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Class 1 and class 2 integrons in multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria isolated from the Salmon River, British Columbia

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Using an enrichment protocol, we isolated 16 gram-negative, multidrug-resistant strains of known or opportunistic bacterial pathogens from the Salmon River in south-central British Columbia from 2005 to 2009, and investigated the genetic basis of their resistance to a variety of antibiotics. Of the 16 strains, 13 carried class 1 integrons and three carried class 2 integrons. Genes found in cassettes associated with the integrons included those for dihydrofolate reductases (dfrA1, dfrA12, dfrA17, and dfrB7), aminoglycoside adenyltransferases (aadA1, aadA2, aadA5, and aadB), streptothricin acetyltransferase (sat), and hypothetical proteins (orfF and orfC). A new gene cassette of unknown function, orf1, was discovered between dfrA1 and aadA5 in Escherichia sp. Other genes for resistance to tetracycline, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, and kanamycin (tetA, tetB, tetD; catA; strA-strB; and aphA1-Iab, respectively) were outside the integrons. Several of these resistance determinants were transferable by conjugation. The detection of organisms and resistance determinants normally associated with clinical settings attest to their widespread dispersal and suggest that regular monitoring of their presence in aquatic habitats should become a part of the overall effort to understand the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria.

Keywords: Salmon River; antibiotic resistance; cassettes géniques; conjugaison; conjugation; gene cassettes; integrons; intégrons; résistance aux antibiotiques

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: State Key Laboratory of Microbial Technology, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, Shandong, People’s Republic of China. 2: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 3015 Ord Road, Kamloops, BC V2B 8A9, Canada. 3: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada.

Publication date: 2011-07-01

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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