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Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)

Detection of tetracycline resistance genes by PCR methods.


PMID 15156014

Abstract

Rapid, accurate, and sensitive determination of antibiotic resistance profiles of various human and animal pathogens becomes a vital prerequisite for successful therapeutic intervention in the face of the increased occurrences of drug-resistant bacterial infections. The current methods, which are dependent on cultivation of pathogens and phenotypic expression of antibiotic resistance, usually require excessive time, special microbiological equipment, and qualified personnel. However, even with all these requisites, for example, no bacteria can be grown from more than 80% of all clinical samples sent to clinical microbiology laboratories. Besides the cultivation limitations, the cultivation-based determination of an antibiotic resistance profile lacks the genotypic information, which is essential for understanding the epidemiology and routes of transmission of antibiotic resistance genes. These genes often reside on mobile genetic elements and can move freely between commensal and pathogenic microbiota, occurring even between taxonomically distant clinical and environmental microbiota. Therefore, development of genotyping methods for detection of antibiotic resistance genes is highly desirable for fast, accurate, and sensitive detection of antibiotic resistance genes in a broad range of pathogenic and commensal bacteria in both clinical and environmental samples. As a model for our studies we have chosen the genes conferring resistance to tetracyclines. Tetracyclines belong to a family of broad-spectrum antibiotics that include tetracycline, chlortetracycline, oxytetracycline, demeclocycline, methacycline, doxycycline, minocycline, and a number of other semisynthetic derivatives. These antibiotics inhibit protein synthesis in Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria by preventing the binding of aminoacyl-tRNA molecules to the 30S ribosomal subunit. The antibiotics of this group were introduced in the late 1950s and since then have been widely used in clinical and veterinary medicine, as well as for prophylaxis and growth promotion in food animals. Because of the possible misuse and overuse of these drugs, resistance to this class of antibiotics is widespread among many clinical isolates, thus limiting the utility of tetracyclines in treating infections. Despite this shortcoming, antibiotics of this class still remain in the active arsenal for dermatologists to treat skin infections such as acne and rosacea.