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Insights on the Horizontal Gene Transfer of Carbapenemase Determinants in the Opportunistic Pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii

1
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, Coimbra 3000-458, Portugal
2
Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra 3000-458, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Laurent Poirel
Microorganisms 2016, 4(3), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms4030029
Received: 31 May 2016 / Revised: 21 July 2016 / Accepted: 9 August 2016 / Published: 23 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antibiotic Resistance Mechanisms)
Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a driving force to the evolution of bacteria. The fast emergence of antimicrobial resistance reflects the ability of genetic adaptation of pathogens. Acinetobacter baumannii has emerged in the last few decades as an important opportunistic nosocomial pathogen, in part due to its high capacity of acquiring resistance to diverse antibiotic families, including to the so-called last line drugs such as carbapenems. The rampant selective pressure and genetic exchange of resistance genes hinder the effective treatment of resistant infections. A. baumannii uses all the resistance mechanisms to survive against carbapenems but production of carbapenemases are the major mechanism, which may act in synergy with others. A. baumannii appears to use all the mechanisms of gene dissemination. Beyond conjugation, the mostly reported recent studies point to natural transformation, transduction and outer membrane vesicles-mediated transfer as mechanisms that may play a role in carbapenemase determinants spread. Understanding the genetic mobilization of carbapenemase genes is paramount in preventing their dissemination. Here we review the carbapenemases found in A. baumannii and present an overview of the current knowledge of contributions of the various HGT mechanisms to the molecular epidemiology of carbapenem resistance in this relevant opportunistic pathogen. View Full-Text
Keywords: Acinetobacter; oxacillinases; metallo-β-lactamases; conjugation; transduction; natural transformation; outer-membrane vesicles-mediated transfer; epidemiology; antimicrobial resistance Acinetobacter; oxacillinases; metallo-β-lactamases; conjugation; transduction; natural transformation; outer-membrane vesicles-mediated transfer; epidemiology; antimicrobial resistance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Da Silva, G.J.; Domingues, S. Insights on the Horizontal Gene Transfer of Carbapenemase Determinants in the Opportunistic Pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii. Microorganisms 2016, 4, 29.

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