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. 2020 Feb 4;11:80.
doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.00080. eCollection 2020.

Development of a Novel mcr-6 to mcr-9 Multiplex PCR and Assessment of mcr-1 to mcr-9 Occurrence in Colistin-Resistant Salmonella enterica Isolates From Environment, Feed, Animals and Food (2011-2018) in Germany

Free PMC article

Development of a Novel mcr-6 to mcr-9 Multiplex PCR and Assessment of mcr-1 to mcr-9 Occurrence in Colistin-Resistant Salmonella enterica Isolates From Environment, Feed, Animals and Food (2011-2018) in Germany

Maria Borowiak et al. Front Microbiol. .
Free PMC article


The polymyxin antibiotic colistin has been used in decades for treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in livestock. Nowadays, it is even considered as last-line treatment option for severe human infections caused by multidrug- and carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Therefore, the discovery of plasmid-mediated mobile colistin resistance (mcr) genes raised major public health concern. The aim of our study was to analyze colistin-resistant Salmonella enterica strains from animals, food, feed and the environment collected at the National Reference Laboratory for Salmonella in Germany on the presence of mcr-1 to mcr-9 genes. Altogether 407 colistin-resistant (MIC >2 mg/L) Salmonella isolates received between 2011 and 2018 were selected and screened by PCR using a published mcr-1 to mcr-5 as well as a newly developed mcr-6 to mcr-9 multiplex PCR protocol. 254 of 407 (62.4%) isolates harbored either mcr-1 (n = 175), mcr-4 (n = 53), mcr-5 (n = 18) or mcr-1 and mcr-9 (n = 8). The number of mcr-positive isolates ranged from 19 (2017) to 64 (2012) per year. WGS revealed that none of our isolates harbored the mcr-9.1 gene. Instead, two novel mcr-9 variants were observed, which both were affected by frameshift mutations and are probably non-functional. The mcr-harboring isolates were mainly derived from animals (77.2%) or food (20.1%) and could be assigned to ten different Salmonella serovars. Many of the isolates were multidrug-resistant. Co-occurrence of mcr-1 and AmpC or ESBL genes was observed in eight isolates. Our findings suggest that mcr genes are widely spread among colistin-resistant Salmonella isolates from livestock and food in Germany. Potential transfer of mcr-harboring isolates along the food chain has to be considered critically.

Keywords: Salmonella; colistin resistance; mcr genes; multidrug resistance; multiplex PCR.


mcr-6 to mcr-9 multiplex PCR. The PCR was tested on DNA extractions of selected strains. PCR grade water was used as negative control (NTC) and HyperLadderII (Bioline) was used as molecular weight marker (L). The PCR products were electrophoretically separated on a 1.5% agarose gel (Bioline) supplemented with Midori Green (NIPPON Genetics Europe, Düren, Germany).

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