Annals of Clinical Microbiology, The official Journal of the Korean Society of Clinical Microbiology

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The Role of Integrons in the Spread of Multi-drug Resistance

Review article

Annals of Clinical Microbiology (Ann Clin Microbiol) 2005 June Volume 8, Issue 1, pages 1-9.


https://doi.org/10.5145/ACM.2005.08.1.1

The Role of Integrons in the Spread of Multi-drug Resistance

Sook-Jin Jang

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Chosun University College of Medicine, Gwangju, Korea

Abstract

The liberal use of antibiotics in human medicine and animal husbandry has promoted the spread of multiple antibiotic resistance. Molecular mechanisms for the acquisition of resistance genes by integron-mediated recombination was discovered recently during an intensive study of antibiotic resistance. Integrons are best known as the genetic agents responsible for the capture and spread of antibiotic resistance determinants among diverse Gram-negative clinical isolates. These DNA elements, mobilized by broad-host-range conjugative plasmids, have the ability of horizontal transfer of antibiotic resistance genes between interspecies of bacteria. The association of integrons with mobile elements promotes their vertical transmission from plasmids to the bacterial chromosome and among different replicons, contributing to the dissemination of resistance genes. Integrons have been found widely distributed among resistant bacteria circulating in hospitals and in the community and have been reported from all continents. The evolution of multi-drug resistance seems to proceed continuously through the acquisition and clustering of dispersed resistance genes by integrons. For public health, proper strategies should be instituted to reduce the potential for dissemination of these genes. (Korean J Clin Microbiol 2005;8(1):1-9)

Keywords

Integron, Antimicrobial resistance, Plasmid, Transposon, Horizontal gene transfer, Epidemiology