Molecular epidemiology of antibiotic resistance plasmids of Haemophilus species and Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Rev Infect Dis. Sep-Oct 1986;8(5):713-24. doi: 10.1093/clinids/8.5.713.


Ampicillin resistance in Haemophilus influenzae and Neisseria gonorrhoeae is most commonly due to plasmid-mediated production of the TEM beta-lactamase. The H. influenzae plasmids may have evolved by insertion of various antibiotic resistance transposons into a phenotypically cryptic plasmid found in one of 699 isolates of H. influenzae examined. The small, nonconjugative, beta-lactamase-specifying plasmids of N. gonorrhoeae and Haemophilus species are highly related. Phenotypically cryptic plasmids found in several epidemiologically distinct isolates of Haemophilus parainfluenzae are highly related to the beta-lactamase plasmids but carry no transposon A (TnA) sequences. This evidence strongly favors the hypothesis that the beta-lactamase plasmids evolved by the insertion of TnA (possibly introduced from enteric bacteria) into cryptic plasmids resident in H. parainfluenzae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Conjugation, Genetic
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • Gonorrhea / microbiology
  • Haemophilus / genetics*
  • Haemophilus Infections / epidemiology
  • Haemophilus Infections / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / enzymology
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics*
  • Penicillinase / genetics
  • R Factors*
  • Sulfonamides / pharmacology
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Sulfonamides
  • Penicillinase
  • beta-Lactamases