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qnrB is the most common of the five qnr families and has the greatest number of allelic variants. Almost two-thirds of the qnrB alleles have been reported in Citrobacter spp., and several were shown to be located on the chromosome. In this study, PCR was used to investigate the prevalence of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance genes in 71 clinical isolates belonging to the Citrobacter freundii complex. Thirty-seven percent contained qnrB alleles, including 7 (qnrB32 to qnrB38) that were novel and 1 pseudogene, while none contained qnrA, qnrC, qnrD, qnrS, or aac(6')-Ib-cr. When the strains were arrayed by related 16S rRNA sequence and further separated into subspecies by biochemical criteria, clustering of qnrB-positive strains was evident. In only two strains with qnrB2 and qnrB4 was quinolone resistance transferable by conjugation, and only these strains contained the ISCR1 sequence that is often associated with qnrB on plasmids. Five of 26 qnrB-positive strains contained integrase genes, but these included the strains with qnrB2 and qnrB4 as well as two strains with other transmissible plasmids. In a fully sequenced genome of Citrobacter youngae, a member of the C. freundii complex, another novel qnrB allele, qnrB39, occurs in a sequence of genes that is 90% identical to sequence surrounding integron-associated qnrB4 incorporated into plasmids. The chromosome of Citrobacter is the likely source of plasmid-mediated qnrB.


George A Jacoby, Caitlin M Griffin, David C Hooper. Citrobacter spp. as a source of qnrB Alleles. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy. 2011 Nov;55(11):4979-84

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PMID: 21844311

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