Chapter 20 : The Origin, Evolution, and Local and Global Dissemination of Antimicrobial Resistance

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The origin of acquired antimicrobial resistance is in general believed to be adoption of resistance genes from antimicrobial-producing organisms and/or nucleotide changes in housekeeping genes. This chapter provides a brief overview of the putative origins of some of the most important antimicrobial resistance determinants and some of the genetic mechanisms. The actual origin of antimicrobial resistance genes is unknown, but environmental microbes, including the natural producers of antimicrobial substances, are believed to be important primary sources. The ß-lactamases are believed to have evolved from enzymes involved in cell wall biosynthesis. The main mechanism of resistance to aminoglycosides is enzymatic inactivation. Comparison of the DNA and deduced amino acid sequence of the genes from macrolide producing organisms and macrolide-resistant bacteria strongly suggests that the origin of macrolide resistance is macrolide-synthesizing organisms. Resistance to tetracyclines is mediated either by genes encoding ribosomal protection proteins (RPPs) or efflux pumps. Food animals and pets produce large amounts of waste products, which may contain many pathogenic bacteria, antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, and resistance genes. Human waste contains large amounts of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and resistance genes. Such waste is normally treated to avoid transmission of pathogenic bacteria.

Citation: Aarestrup F. 2006. The Origin, Evolution, and Local and Global Dissemination of Antimicrobial Resistance, p 339-360. In Aarestrup F (ed), Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria of Animal Origin. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817534.ch20
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Image of Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Mechanisms of gene transfer within and between bacteria. Picture by Yvonne Agersø.

Citation: Aarestrup F. 2006. The Origin, Evolution, and Local and Global Dissemination of Antimicrobial Resistance, p 339-360. In Aarestrup F (ed), Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria of Animal Origin. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817534.ch20
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Image of Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Potential routes of dissemination of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and resistance genes.

Citation: Aarestrup F. 2006. The Origin, Evolution, and Local and Global Dissemination of Antimicrobial Resistance, p 339-360. In Aarestrup F (ed), Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria of Animal Origin. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817534.ch20
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Figure 3.

U.S. beef and veal (top) and broiler meat and pork (bottom) trade. Data from reference 20.

Citation: Aarestrup F. 2006. The Origin, Evolution, and Local and Global Dissemination of Antimicrobial Resistance, p 339-360. In Aarestrup F (ed), Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria of Animal Origin. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817534.ch20
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Table 1.

Origin of antimicrobial resistance genes

Citation: Aarestrup F. 2006. The Origin, Evolution, and Local and Global Dissemination of Antimicrobial Resistance, p 339-360. In Aarestrup F (ed), Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria of Animal Origin. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817534.ch20
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Table 2.

Transfer mechanisms in gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria

Citation: Aarestrup F. 2006. The Origin, Evolution, and Local and Global Dissemination of Antimicrobial Resistance, p 339-360. In Aarestrup F (ed), Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria of Animal Origin. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817534.ch20

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