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Antibiotic resistance is linked to carriage of papC and iutA virulence genes and phylogenetic group D background in commensal and uropathogenic Escherichia coli from infants and young children.

Journal article
Authors Nahid Karami
Agnes E Wold
Ingegerd Adlerberth
Published in European journal of clinical microbiology & infectious diseases : official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology
Volume 36
Issue 4
Pages 721-729
ISSN 1435-4373
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Pages 721-729
Language en
Subject categories Bacteriology, Medical microbiology, Infectious Medicine


P fimbriae, enabling adherence to colonic and urinary epithelium, and aerobactin, an iron sequestering system, are both colonization factors in the human colon and virulence factors for urinary tract infection. The colonic microbiota is suggested to be a site suitable for the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes. We investigated whether phenotypic resistance to antibiotics in commensal and uropathogenic Escherichia coli from infants and young children is associated with carriage of virulence genes and to phylogenetic group origin and, in the case of fecal strains, to persistence in the gut and fecal population levels. The commensal strains (n = 272) were derived from a birth cohort study, while the urinary isolates (n = 205) were derived from outpatient clinics. Each strain was assessed for phenotypic antibiotic resistance and for carriage of virulence genes (fimA, papC, sfaD/E, hlyA, iutA, kfiC, and neuB), phylogenetic group (A, B1, B2, or D), and markers of particular virulent clones (CGA-D-ST69, O15:H1-D-ST393, and O25b:H4-B2-ST131). Resistance to ampicillin, tetracycline, and trimethoprim was most prevalent. Multivariate analysis showed that resistance to any antibiotic was significantly associated with carriage of genes encoding P fimbriae (papC) and aerobactin (iutA), and a phylogenetic group D origin. Neither fecal population numbers nor the capacity for long-term persistence in the gut were related to antibiotic resistance among fecal strains. Our study confirms the importance of phylogenetic group D origin for antibiotic resistance in E. coli and identifies the virulence genes papC and iutA as determinants of antibiotic resistance. The reason for the latter association is currently unclear.

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