Complete nucleotide sequences of plasmids pEK204, pEK499, and pEK516, encoding CTX-M enzymes in three major Escherichia coli lineages from the United Kingdom, all belonging to the international O25:H4-ST131 clone

Neil Woodford, Alessandra Carattoli, Edi Karisik, Anthony Underwood, Matthew J Ellington, David M Livermore

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We determined the complete nucleotide sequences of three plasmids that encode CTX-M extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) in pulsed-field gel electrophoresis-defined United Kingdom variants (strains A, C, and D) of the internationally prevalent Escherichia coli O25:H4-ST131 clone. Plasmid pEK499 (strain A; 117,536 bp) was a fusion of type FII and FIA replicons and harbored the following 10 antibiotic resistance genes conferring resistance to eight antibiotic classes: bla(CTX-M-15), bla(OXA-1), bla(TEM-1,) aac6'-Ib-cr, mph(A), catB4, tet(A), and the integron-borne dfrA7, aadA5, and sulI genes. pEK516 (strain D; 64,471 bp) belonged to incompatibility group IncFII and carried seven antibiotic resistance genes: bla(CTX-M-15), bla(OXA-1), bla(TEM-1), aac6'-Ib-cr, catB4, and tet(A), all as in pEK499. It also carried aac3-IIa, conferring gentamicin resistance, and was highly related to pC15-1a, a plasmid encoding the CTX-M-15 enzyme in Canada. By contrast, pEK204 (strain C; 93,732 bp) belonged to incompatibility group IncI1 and carried only two resistance genes, bla(CTX-M-3) and bla(TEM-1). It probably arose by the transposition of Tn3 and ISEcp1-bla(CTX-M-3) elements into a pCOLIb-P9-like plasmid. We conclude that (i) United Kingdom variants of the successful E. coli ST131 clone have acquired different plasmids encoding CTX-M ESBLs on separate occasions, (ii) the bla(CTX-M-3) and bla(CTX-M-15) genes on pEK204 and pEK499/pEK516 represent separate escape events, and (iii) IncFII plasmids harboring bla(CTX-M-15) have played a crucial role in the global spread of CTX-M-15 ESBLs in E. coli.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4472-4482
Number of pages11
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Computational Biology
  • Escherichia coli
  • Great Britain
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Plasmids
  • beta-Lactamases

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