Development of a DNA probe from the deoxyribonucleotide sequence of a 3-N-aminoglycoside acetyltransferase [AAC(3)-I] resistance gene.
The aacC1 gene encoding the 3-N-aminoglycoside acetyltransferase [AAC(3)-I] was cloned from enteric plasmid pJR88, and its deoxyribonucleotide sequence was determined. Significant nucleotide homology was noted in the region extending from the proposed -35 sequences through the first 59 base pairs of the aacC1 gene open reading frame (ORF) and the upstream flanking regions and ORFs of several other antibiotic resistance genes. Sequences were noted to be homologous with the 6'-N-aminoglycoside acetyltransferase [AAC(6')-I], 2''-O-aminoglycoside adenylyltransferase [AAD(2'')], and 3''-O-aminoglycoside adenylyltransferase [AAD(3'')] resistance genes; the OXA-1, OXA-2, and PSE-2 beta-lactamase genes; and several dihydrofolate reductase genes. Small regions of homology were noted in the 3'-flanking regions of these resistance genes as well. A DNA probe for the aacC1 gene was selected from the nucleotide sequence information and was tested against a series of genetically and enzymatically defined strains. The probe, which proved specific for the aacC1 gene, was then tested against a series of 58 gentamicin-susceptible and 219 gentamicin-resistant gram-negative bacilli isolated from patients at the Seattle Veterans Administration Medical Center. Only six clinical isolates were noted to carry the aacC1 gene. Each was resistant to gentamicin but susceptible to kanamycin, tobramycin, and amikacin. The presence of homologous regions of DNA at both the 3' and 5' ends of the aacC1 gene reinforces the importance of choosing probes from within the ORFs of genes and of avoiding flanking sequences. When the homology with other sequences extends into the ORF, as it does with the aacC1 gene, development of a specific probe may require determination of the nucleotide sequence.