Co-occurrence of clinically relevant β-lactamases and MCR-1 encoding genes in Escherichia coli from companion animals in Argentina

María Valeria Rumi, Javier Mas, Alan Elena, Louise Cerdeira, Maria E. Muñoz, Nilton Lincopan, Élida R. Gentilini, José Di Conza, Gabriel Gutkind

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Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL), plasmid-mediated AmpC (pAmpC) and MCR-1 phosphoethanolamine transferase enzymes have been pointed out as the main plasmid-mediated mechanisms of resistance to third generation cephalosporins (TGC) and colistin, respectively, and are currently considered a major concern both in human and veterinary medicine. Little data on these resistance determinants prevalence in companion animal infections is available. The aim of this study was to determine the resistance profile of Escherichia coli isolated from pet infections, in Argentina, and to characterize the resistance mechanisms to TGC, as well as the presence of the plasmid-borne colistin resistance gene, mcr-1. A total of 54 E. coli isolates were collected from clinical samples in dogs and cats; from them, 20/54 (37%, CI 95: [24%; 51%]) displayed resistance to TGC. In this regard, thirteen pAmpC-producing isolates were positive for bla CMY-2 genes, whereas seven ESBL- producers harboured bla CTX-M-2 (n = 4), bla CTX-M-15 (n = 2) and bla CTX-M-14 (n = 1) genes. One E. coli strain (V80), isolated from a canine urinary tract infection, showed resistance to colistin (MIC = 8 μg/ml) and whole-genome sequencing analysis revealed co-occurrence of mcr-1.1, bla CTX-M-2 , aadA1, ant(2′')-Ia, catA1 and sul1 genes; the former being carried by a 60,587-bp IncI2 plasmid, previously reported in human colistin-resistant E. coli. E. coli V80 belonged to ST770 and the highly virulent phylogenetic group B2. In general, most of these multidrug-resistant isolates belonged to the phylogenetic group F (11/20) and to a lesser extent B2 (5/20), B1 (2/20), D (1/20) and E (1/20). In summary, CMY- and CTX-M-type β-lactamases may constitute the main TGC resistance mechanism in E. coli isolated from pet infections in Argentina, whereas dissemination of colistin resistance mechanism MCR-1 in the human-animal interface has been mediated by IncI2 plasmids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-234
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • CMY-2
  • CTX-M
  • ESBL
  • IncI2
  • mcr-1
  • pAmpC
  • Pets
  • South America

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