Molecular evolution of metallo-β-lactamase-producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a nosocomial setting of high-level endemicity

Cristina Lagatolla, Elisabetta Edalucci, Lucilla Dolzani, Maria Letizia Riccio, Filomena De Luca, Erica Medessi, Gian Maria Rossolini, Enrico Angelo Tonin

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An outbreak of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains producing VIM-type metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) has occurred in an Italian hospital since 2000 (C. Lagatolla, E. A. Tonin, C. Monti-Bragadin, L. Dolzani, F. Gombac, C. Bearzi, E. Edalucci, F. Gionechetti, and G. M. Rossolini, Emerg. Infect. Dis. 10:535-538, 2004). In this work, using molecular methods, we characterized 128 carbapenem-resistant isolates (including 98 VIM-positive isolates) collected from that hospital from 2000 to 2002 to investigate the dynamics of the dissemination of MBL producers in the clinical setting. Genotyping by random amplification of polymorphic DNA and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed that most VIM-positive isolates belonged to two different clonal lineages, producing either a VIM-1- or a VIM-2-like MBL, whose ancestors were detected for the first time in the hospital in 1999, suggesting that clonal expansion played a predominant role in the dissemination of these isolates. The 86 clonally related isolates carrying a blaVIM-1-like gene on an In70-like integron were clearly related to a VIM-1-positive P. aeruginosa clone circulating in various Italian hospitals since the late 1990s. VIM-negative P. aeruginosa strains related to the VIM-1-positive clone were detected during the same period, suggesting that the latter strain was derived from a clonal lineage already circulating in the hospital. In the VIM-2-like positive clone, the MBL gene was carried by an unusual class 1 integron, named In71, lacking the 3′ conserved sequence region typical of sull-associated integrons. A different class 1 integron with an original structure carrying a bla VIM-2 determinant, named In74, was detected in a sporadic isolate. A retrospective investigation did not reveal the presence of strains related to any of the VIM-producing isolates earlier than 1997.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2348-2353
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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