Background: The increasing rate of infections caused by multiple drug resistant gram-negative bacteria has led to resuscitation of colistin. As a result, colistin resistance, mainly among Klebsiella pneumoniae strains has also been increased. The aim of this study was to investigate molecular mechanisms behind colistin resistance.
Methods: Twenty colistin-resistant K. pneumoniae strains isolated from clinical samples of different patients were involved in this study. VITEK2 automated ID/AST system (Biomeriux, France) was used for the identification and also the susceptibility testing for antibiotics other than colistin. Colistin susceptibility was determined by broth microdilution method. To identify the mechanisms of resistance, mutations on mgrB genes, expression levels of pmrA, pmrB, pmrC, pmrD, pmrE, pmrK, phoQ, and phoP genes, and the presence of plasmid mediated colistin resistance genes, mcr-1 and mcr-2 were investigated.
Results: As a result of the study, increased expression levels of the pmrA, pmrB, pmrD, pmrK, phoP, and phoQ genes were observed. All colistin resistant strains were found wild type for the mgrB gene which is thought to be esponsible for colistin resistance. Also, no mcr-1 or mcr-2 genes which are the causes of plasmid mediated colistin resistance have been detected in any of the strains.
Conclusions: Among the colistin resistant K. pneumoniae strains included in our study, increased expression Levels of the genes responsible for cell membrane modifications related with colistin resistance were the most common mechanisms.