Escherichia coli clonal group A (CGA) commonly exhibits a distinctive multidrug antimicrobial resistance phenotype - i.e., resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulfonamides, tetracycline, and trimethoprim (ACSSuTTp) - and has accounted for up to 50% of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole- resistant E. coli urinary tract infections in some locales. Annotation of the whole-genome sequencing of UMN026, a reference CGA strain, clarified the genetic basis for this strain's ACSSuTTp antimicrobial resistance phenotype. Most of the responsible genes were clustered in a unique 23-kbp chromosomal region, designated the genomic resistance module (GRM), which occurred within a 105-kbp genomic island situated at the leuX tRNA. The GRM is characterized by numerous remnants of mobilization and rearrangement events suggesting multiple horizontal transfers. Additionally, comparative genomic analysis of the leuX tRNA genomic island in 14 sequenced E. coli genomes showed that this region is a hot spot of integration, with the presence/absence of specific subregions being uncorrelated with either the phylogenetic group or the pathotype. Our data illustrate the importance of whole-genome sequencing in the detection of genetic elements involved in antimicrobial resistance. Additionally, this is the first documentation of the blaTEM and dhfrVII genes in a chromosomal location in E. coli strains.
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