PloS one

Identification of the multi-resistance gene cfr in Escherichia coli isolates of animal origin.

PMID 25036029


Previous study indicated that the multi-resistance gene cfr was mainly found in gram-positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus and Enterococcus, and was sporadically detected in Escherichia coli. Little is known about the prevalence and transmission mechanism of cfr in E. coli. In this study, the presence of cfr in E. coli isolates collected during 2010-2012 from food-producing animals in Guangdong Province of China was investigated, and the cfr-positive E. coli isolates were characterized by PFGE, plasmid profiling, and genetic environment analysis. Of the 839 E. coli isolates, 10 isolates from pig were cfr positive. All the cfr-positive isolates presented a multi-resistance phenotype and were genetically divergent as determined by PFGE. In 8 out of the 10 strains, the cfr gene was located on plasmids of ∼30 kb. Restriction digestion of the plasmids with EcoRI and sequence hybridization with a cfr-specific probe revealed that the cfr-harboring fragments ranged from 6 to 23 kb and a ∼18 kb cfr-carrying fragment was common for the plasmids that were ∼30 kb. Four different genetic environments of cfr were detected, in which cfr is flanked by two identical copies of IS26, which may loop out the intervening sequence through homologous recombination. Among the 8 plasmids of ∼30 kb, 7 plasmids shared the same genetic environment. These results demonstrate plasmid-carried cfr in E. coli and suggest that transposition and homologous recombination mediated by IS26 might have played a rule in the transfer of the cfr gene in E. coli.