Detection and characterization of class 1 integrons in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli

Microb Drug Resist. Summer 2002;8(2):85-91. doi: 10.1089/107662902760190626.


Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) strains isolated from humans, cattle, and food and belonging to serogroups O26 (7 strains), O111 (19 strains), and O157 (70 strains) were examined for susceptibility to 11 antimicrobial drugs. Fifty-nine strains showing resistance to at least one of the drugs were examined by PCR for the presence of class 1 integrons, which were identified in 17 strains. Integrons were found more frequently in strains belonging to serogroups O111 and O26 than in the O157 isolates. DNA sequence analysis demonstrated that most of the integrons contained the aadA1 gene cassette conferring resistance to streptomycin/ spectinomycin, alone or associated with the drfA1 gene cassette conferring resistance to trimethoprim. One integron, identified in a O157:H7 strain, carried the aadA2 and dfrA12 gene cassettes, conferring resistance to streptomycin/spectinomycin and trimethoprim, and the open reading frame F (OrfF) encoding unknown functions. Most of the integrons were carried by Tn21 derivative transposons and were transferable by conjugation to an E. coli K-12 strain. In conclusion, integrons and antibiotic resistance genes can be frequently found in EHEC strains, particularly E. coli O111 and E. coli O26, and their presence could complicate therapeutic trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli O157 / genetics*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Humans
  • Integrins / genetics
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids / drug effects
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rifampin / pharmacology


  • Integrins
  • Rifampin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF175203
  • GENBANK/AF180731
  • GENBANK/AF188331
  • GENBANK/AF284063