Detection of mcr-1 plasmids in Enterobacteriaceae isolates from human specimens: Comparison with those in Escherichia coli isolates from livestock in Korea

Eun Jeong Yoon, Jun Sung Hong, Ji Woo Yang, Kwang Jun Lee, Hyukmin Lee, Seok Hoon Jeong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The emerging mobile colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, is an ongoing worldwide concern and an evaluation of clinical isolates harboring this gene is required in Korea. We investigated mcr-1-possessing Enterobacteriaceae among Enterobacteriaceae strains isolated in Korea, and compared the genetic details of the plasmids with those in Escherichia coli isolates from livestock. Methods: Among 9,396 Enterobacteriaceae clinical isolates collected between 2010 and 2015, 1,347 (14.3%) strains were resistant to colistin and those were screened for mcr-1 by PCR. Colistin minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined by microdilution, and conjugal transfer of the mcr-1-harboring plasmids was assessed by direct mating. Whole genomes of three mcr-1-positive Enterobacteriaceae clinical isolates and 11 livestock-origin mcr-1-positive E. coli isolates were sequenced. Results: Two E. coli and one Enterobacter aerogenes clinical isolates carried carried IncI2 plasmids harboring mcr-1, which conferred colistin resistance (E. coli MIC, 4 mg/L; E. aerogenes MIC, 32 mg/L). The strains possessed the complete conjugal machinery except for E. aerogenes harboring a truncated prepilin peptidase. The E. coli plasmid transferred more efficiently to E. coli than to Klebsiella pneumoniae or Enterobacter cloacae recipients. Among the three bacterial hosts, the colistin MIC was the highest for E. coli owing to the higher mcr-1-plasmid copy number and mcr-1 expression levels. Ten mcr-1-positive chicken-origin E. coli strains also possessed mcr-1-harboring IncI2 plasmids closely related to that in the clinical E. aerogenes isolate, and the remaining one porcine-origin E. coli possessed an mcr-1-harboring IncX4 plasmid. Conclusions: mcr-1-harboring IncI2 plasmids were identified in clinical Enterobacteriaceae isolates. These plasmids were closely associated with those in chicken-origin E. coli strains in Korea, supporting the concept of mcr-1 dissemination between humans and livestock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-562
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of laboratory medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Korean Society for Laboratory Medicine.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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