Mechanisms leading to carbapenem and cephalosporin resistance were sought in Enterobacter aerogenes isolates that were highly resistant to carbapenems but had no known carbapenemase. Results were compared with recent work examining carbapenem-resistant Enterobacter cloacae. Eighteen carbapenem-resistant E. aerogenes were screened for known β-lactamase and carbapenemase genes, and novel carbapenemases were sought in whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data of the three most resistant isolates. For all isolates, ampC, ampR, ampD and the porin genes omp35 and omp36 were investigated by Sanger sequencing or from available WGS data. Expression of ampC and porin genes was measured in comparison with cephalosporin- and carbapenem-susceptible control strains by reverse transcriptase PCR, with porin translation also detected by SDS-PAGE. Loss of Omp35, primarily due to decreased transcription (up to 250×), was observed in ertapenem-resistant isolates (MICs ≥ 2 mg/L), whereas meropenem resistance (MICs ≥ 4 mg/L) was observed in those isolates also showing decreased or no production of Omp36. Loss of Omp36 was due to combinations of premature translation termination or reduced transcription. In contrast to E. cloacae, cephalosporin resistance in E. aerogenes was not associated with lesions in AmpD. High-level cefepime resistance (MIC = 32 mg/L) was caused by a novel modification in the H-10 helix of AmpC in one isolate. The differential importance of AmpD lesions in cephalosporin resistance in E. cloacae and E. aerogenes underlines the differences between these contrasting members of the Enterobacter genus. Porin loss resulted in high-level carbapenem resistance with gradual loss of Omp36, which led to high-level meropenem resistance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This study was supported by an award to BBF from Prof. Dr Max Cloëtta and Uniscienta Foundation and the Margarete and Walter Lichtenstein Foundation, University of Basel (Basel, Switzerland).
Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Carbapenem resistance
- Enterobacter aerogenes
- Outer membrane protein