Four non-repetitive, clonally related (ST114), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii strains isolated in the USA were examined to understand the mechanisms of carbapenem resistance including screening for the presence of an insertion sequence upstream of the bla(OXA-51-like) gene, which could be involved in the control and expression of the antibiotic-resistance gene. We observed that the main mechanisms of carbapenem resistance were the result of the over-expression of the bla(OXA-58-like) and the bla(OXA-65) gene, both of which had the presence of ISAba825 upstream of the genes. The importance of this element was shown by isolating plasmid-cured isogenic strains that had lost the plasmid with the ISAba825-bla(OXA-58-like) genes but during that same process also lost the chromosomal ISAba825 element present upstream of the bla(OXA-65) gene. A 16-fold decrease in minimum inhibitory concentration of imipenem and an eight-fold decrease in the minimum inhibitory concentration of meropenem were seen in the isogenic strains that lost the plasmid. The study presents the first report of ISAba825 simultaneously governing the bla(OXA-65) gene and the bla(OXA-58-like) gene expression and also highlights the importance of this element in carbapenem-sensitive isogenic strains, which were once carbapenem resistant.
© 2012 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2012 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.