Genetic context and structural diversity of class 1 integrons from human commensal bacteria in a hospital intensive care unit

American Society for Microbiology
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Journal Article
Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 2011, 55 (8), pp. 3939 - 3943
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Most surveys for class 1 integrons are at least partly predicated on PCR screening that targets integron conserved regions. However, class 1 integrons are structurally diverse, so dependence on conserved regions may lead to missing clinically relevant examples of class 1 integrons. Here, we surveyed a commensal population of bacteria from patients in an intensive care unit to identify class 1 integrons irrespective of their structure or genetic context. We identified several examples of class 1 integrons linked to complete Tn402-like or Tn402 hybrid transposition modules and diverse insertion points with respect to the inverted repeat IRi boundary. The diversity and abundance of class 1 integrons identified are such that many novel elements seen here would not have been identified by commonly used methods, and they revealed an additional level of complexity.
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