Objectives: The goal of this study was to investigate the epidemiological characteristics and the surrounding genetic structure of bla(NDM-1) in non-baumannii Acinetobacter spp. in China.
Methods: Non-baumannii Acinetobacter spp. were collected from 28 provinces in China and were screened for the presence of bla(NDM-1) using PCR. The following four methods were used to classify the Acinetobacter isolates: the Vitek 2 system, 16S-23S rRNA gene intergenic spacer sequencing, amplified rDNA restriction analysis and partial rpoB sequence analysis. An S1-PFGE assay and Southern blot hybridization were performed to determine the plasmid location of bla(NDM-1). The transferability of bla(NDM-1)-harbouring plasmids was confirmed by conjugation experiments and electrotransformation. The surrounding genetic structure of the bla(NDM-1) gene was analysed using a restriction endonuclease-based cloning approach and primer walking.
Results: Among 726 non-baumannii Acinetobacter spp., nine isolates collected from six different provinces and assigned to seven different Acinetobacter spp. contained the bla(NDM-1) gene. None of these isolates was directly infectious to the patients or demonstrated an epidemiological importation from abroad. These bla(NDM-1) genes were located on plasmids that could be transferred to Escherichia coli J53 by conjugation and Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 by electrotransformation. Seven of the nine strains shared a common genetic structure in which bla(NDM-1) was flanked by two copies of ISAba125.
Conclusions: The clinical challenge posed by bla(NDM-1) is currently minimal in China; however, more attention should be devoted to monitoring the dissemination of this gene due to its potential transferability via the ISAba125-associated transposon.