Antimicrobial resistance-conferring plasmids with similarity to virulence plasmids from avian pathogenic Escherichia coli strains in Salmonella enterica serovar Kentucky isolates from poultry.
Salmonella enterica, a leading cause of food-borne gastroenteritis worldwide, may be found in any raw food of animal, vegetable, or fruit origin. Salmonella serovars differ in distribution, virulence, and host specificity. Salmonella enterica serovar Kentucky, though often found in the food supply, is less commonly isolated from ill humans. The multidrug-resistant isolate S. Kentucky CVM29188, isolated from a chicken breast sample in 2003, contains three plasmids (146,811 bp, 101,461 bp, and 46,121 bp), two of which carry resistance determinants (pCVM29188_146 [strAB and tetRA] and pCVM29188_101 [bla(CMY-2) and sugE]). Both resistance plasmids were transferable by conjugation, alone or in combination, to S. Kentucky, Salmonella enterica serovar Newport, and Escherichia coli recipients. pCVM29188_146 shares a highly conserved plasmid backbone of 106 kb (>90% nucleotide identity) with two virulence plasmids from avian pathogenic Escherichia coli strains (pAPEC-O1-ColBM and pAPEC-O2-ColV). Shared avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC) virulence factors include iutA iucABCD, sitABCD, etsABC, iss, and iroBCDEN. PCR analyses of recent (1997 to 2005) S. Kentucky isolates from food animal, retail meat, and human sources revealed that 172 (60%) contained similar APEC-like plasmid backbones. Notably, though rare in human- and cattle-derived isolates, this plasmid backbone was found at a high frequency (50 to 100%) among S. Kentucky isolates from chickens within the same time span. Ninety-four percent of the APEC-positive isolates showed resistance to tetracycline and streptomycin. Together, our findings of a resistance-conferring APEC virulence plasmid in a poultry-derived S. Kentucky isolate and of similar resistance/virulence plasmids in most recent S. Kentucky isolates from chickens and, to lesser degree, from humans and cattle highlight the need for additional research in order to examine the prevalence and spread of combined virulence and resistance plasmids in bacteria in agricultural, environmental, and clinical settings.