In this study, an ertapenem-nonsusceptible Escherichia coli isolate was investigated to determine the genetic basis for its carbapenem resistance phenotype. This clinical strain was recovered from a patient that received, 1 year previously, ertapenem to treat a cholangitis due to a carbapenem-susceptible extended-spectrum-ß-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. coli isolate. Whole-genome sequencing of these strains was performed using Illumina and single-molecule real-time sequencing technologies. It revealed that they belonged to the ST131 clonal group, had the predicted O25b:H4 serotype, and produced the CTX-M-15 and TEM-1 ß-lactamases. One nucleotide substitution was identified between these strains. It affected the ompR gene, which codes for a regulatory protein involved in the control of OmpC/OmpF porin expression, creating a Gly-63-Val substitution. The role of OmpR alteration was confirmed by a complementation experiment that fully restored the susceptibility to ertapenem of the clinical isolate. A modeling study showed that the Gly-63-Val change displaced the histidine-kinase phosphorylation site. SDS-PAGE analysis revealed that the ertapenem-nonsusceptible E. coli strain had a decreased expression of OmpC/OmpF porins. No significant defect in the growth rate or in the resistance to Dictyostelium discoideum amoeba phagocytosis was found in the ertapenem-nonsusceptible E. coli isolate compared to its susceptible parental strain. Our report demonstrates for the first time that ertapenem resistance may emerge clinically from ESBL-producing E. coli due to mutations that modulate the OmpR activity. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.
Journal: Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy