Objectives: A Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical isolate that exhibited high-level carbapenem resistance and produced metallo-beta-lactamase (MBL) was recovered from a Greek patient. This study was conducted to determine the underlying mechanisms that conferred the carbapenem resistance phenotype.
Methods: MICs were determined by Etest and Etest MBL. PCR assays were performed for identification of bla(VIM-type), other antibiotic resistance and efflux pump genes and mapping of class 1 integrons. Expression of efflux pump genes was quantified by real-time PCR. Nucleotide sequencing was used to determine the bla(VIM) allele. The location of the MBL allele was investigated by mating experiments, plasmid analysis and hybridization studies.
Results: The isolate was highly carbapenem-resistant (MICs of imipenem and meropenem were 512 and 128 mg/L, respectively) and multidrug-resistant. It harboured the beta-lactamase genes bla(VIM-4) and bla(P1b) in a novel class 1 integron named InV4P1, and a second integron with aac(6')-Ib and bla(OXA-35) gene cassettes. The isolate was deficient in porin OprD and overexpressed efflux pumps MexAB-OprM and MexXY-OprM. Conjugation experiments failed to detect transferable MBL determinants, plasmids were not visualized and bla(VIM) was detected by PCR in the chromosomal band.
Conclusions: Multiple carbapenem resistance mechanisms are demonstrated to coexist in a single P. aeruginosa isolate and might confer the high-level carbapenem resistance.