Guangdong Institute of Microbiology, Guangdong Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province 510070, China; State Key Laboratory of Applied Microbiology Southern China, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Microbial Culture Collection and Application, Guangdong Open Laboratory of Applied Microbiology, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province 510070, China. Electronic address: [Email]
The aim of this study is to investigate the prevalence of integrons and integron-associated antibiotic resistance in V. parahaemolyticus strains collected from RTE foods in China, and to carry out a comprehensive analysis on the molecular characterization of V. parahaemolyticus strains carrying blaVEB-1-positive class 1 integron. Of the 51 V. parahaemolyticus strains isolated from RTE food samples, none of the isolates was found to carry integrase genes intI2 and IntI3. However, all 51 strains were positive to integrase gene intI1, and only 2 of 51 (3.92%) intI1-positive isolates yielded polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products of gene cassette amplification. Sequence data and BLAST analysis indicated the gene cassette arrays of class 1 integron in VP007 is dfrA14-blaVEB-1-aadB, while the gene cassette arrays of class 1 integron in V187 is blaVEB-1-aadB-arr2-cmlA-blaOXA-10-aadA1. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing showed that the two V. parahaemolyticus isolates harboring class 1 integrons exhibited multi-drug resistance to various antibiotics. S1-PFGE and Southern blot analysis confirmed the class 1 integron harboring blaVEB-1 gene in V187 was located on the plasmid of ~175 kb and transferrable to the recipient strain by conjugation. This is the first detection of class 1 integrons harboring the ESBL gene blaVEB-1 in V. parahaemolyticus. To the best of our knowledge, this is also the first report of VEB-producing V. parahaemolyticus from RTE foods. Our findings revealed that class 1 integron on conjugative plasmid contributes significantly to the dissemination of VEB-producing V. parahaemolyticus, which warrants further investigation because of the public health threat it poses.