Variability in carbapenemase activity of intrinsic OxaAb (OXA-51-like) β-lactamase enzymes in Acinetobacter baumannii.


Takebayashi Y(1)(2), Findlay J(2)(3), Heesom KJ(4), Warburton PJ(1)(5), Avison MB(2), Evans BA(1)(6).
Author information:
(1)Department of Biomedical and Forensic Science, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK.
(2)School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.
(3)Division of Infection & Immunity, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University College London, UK.
(4)Bristol Proteomics Facility, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.
(5)School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK.
(6)Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, UK.


OBJECTIVES: To measure the variability in carbapenem susceptibility conferred by different OxaAb variants, characterize the molecular evolution of oxaAb and elucidate the contribution of OxaAb and other possible carbapenem resistance factors in the clinical isolates using WGS and LC-MS/MS. METHODS: Antimicrobial susceptibility tests were performed on 10 clinical Acinetobacter baumannii isolates. Carbapenem MICs were evaluated for all oxaAb variants cloned into A. baumannii CIP70.10 and BM4547, with and without their natural promoters. Molecular evolution analysis of the oxaAb variants was performed using FastTree and SplitsTree4. Resistance determinants were studied in the clinical isolates using WGS and LC-MS/MS. RESULTS: Only the OxaAb variants with I129L and L167V substitutions, OxaAb(82), OxaAb(83), OxaAb(107) and OxaAb(110) increased carbapenem MICs when expressed in susceptible A. baumannii backgrounds without an upstream IS element. Carbapenem resistance was conferred with the addition of their natural upstream ISAba1 promoter. LC-MS/MS analysis on the original clinical isolates confirmed overexpression of the four I129L and L167V variants. No other differences in expression levels of proteins commonly associated with carbapenem resistance were detected. CONCLUSIONS: Elevated carbapenem MICs were observed by expression of OxaAb variants carrying clinically prevalent substitutions I129L and L167V. To drive carbapenem resistance, these variants required overexpression by their upstream ISAba1 promoter. This study clearly demonstrates that a combination of IS-driven overexpression of oxaAb and the presence of particular amino acid substitutions in the active site to improve carbapenem capture is key in conferring carbapenem resistance in A. baumannii and other mechanisms are not required.