tcrB, a gene conferring transferable copper resistance in Enterococcus faecium: occurrence, transferability, and linkage to macrolide and glycopeptide resistance
Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article – Annual report year: 2002
A newly discovered gene, designated tcrB, which is located on a conjugative plasmid conferring acquired copper resistance in Enterococcus faecium, was identified in an isolate from a pig. The tcrB gene encodes a putative protein belonging to the CPx-type ATPase family with homology (46%) to the CopB protein from Enterococcus hirae. The tcrB gene was found in E. faecium isolated from pigs (75%), broilers (34%), calves (16%), and humans (10%) but not in isolates from sheep. Resistant isolates, containing the tcrB gene, grew on brain heart infusion agar plates containing up to 28 mM CuSO4 compared to only 4 mM for the susceptible isolates. Copper resistance, and therefore the presence of the tcrB gene, was strongly correlated to macrolide and glycopeptide resistance in isolates from pigs, and the tcrB gene was shown to be located on the same conjugative plasmid as the genes responsible for resistance to these two antimicrobial agents. The frequent occurrence of this new copper resistance gene in isolates from pigs, where copper sulfate is being used in large amounts as feed additive, suggests that the use of copper has selected for resistance.
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