by Ascenda Staff

At Ascenda BioSciences, we take antibiotic resistance seriously.

We test for antibiotic drug resistance gene characteristics to the following:





Antibiotic resistance is a problem of deep scientific concern both in hospital and community settings. Rapid detection in clinical laboratories is essential for the judicious recognition of antimicrobial resistant organisms. Production of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) is a significant resistance-mechanism that impedes the antimicrobial treatment of infections caused by Enterobacteriaceae and is a serious threat to the currently available antibiotic armory. ESBLs are classified into several groups according to their amino acid sequence homology. Proper infection control practices and barriers are essential to prevent spread and outbreaks of ESBL producing bacteria. As bacteria have developed different strategies to counter the effects of antibiotics, the identification of the resistance mechanism may help in the discovery and design of new antimicrobial agents. The carbapenems are widely regarded as the drugs of choice for the treatment of severe infections caused by ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae, although comparative clinical trials are scarce. Hence, more expeditious diagnostic testing of ESBL-producing bacteria and the feasible modification of guidelines for community-onset bacteremia associated with different infections are prescribed.

Authors: Sibhghatulla Shaikh, Jamale Fatima, Shazi Shakil, Syed Mohd. Danish Rizvi, and Mohammad Amjad Kamal

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Escherichia coli is regarded as the most important etiological agent of urinary tract infections. Fluoroquinolones are routinely used in the treatment of these infections; however, in recent years, a growing rate of resistance to these drugs has been reported globally. The aims of this study were to detect plasmid-mediated qnrA, qnrB, and qnrS genes among the quinolone-nonsusceptible E. coli isolates and to investigate their clonal relatedness in Qazvin and Zanjan Provinces, Iran.


A total of 200 clinical isolates of E. coli were collected from hospitalized patients. The bacterial isolates were identified through standard laboratory protocols and further confirmed using API 20E test strips. Antimicrobial susceptibility was determined by the standard disk diffusion method. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing were used for detecting qnrA, qnrB, and qnrS genes and the clonal relatedness of qnr-positive isolates was evaluated by enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus-PCR (ERIC-PCR) method.


In total, 136 (68%) isolates were nonsusceptible to quinolone compounds, among which 45 (33.1%) and 71 (52.2%) isolates showed high- and low-level quinolone resistance, respectively. Of the 136 isolates, four (2.9%) isolates were positive for the qnrS1 gene. The results from ERIC-PCR revealed that two (50%) cases of qnr-positive isolates were related genetically.


Our study results were indicative of the presence of low frequency of qnr genes among the clinical isolates of E. coli in Qazvin and Zanjan Provinces, which emphasizes the need for establishing tactful policies associated with infection-control measures in our hospital settings.

Authors: Maryam Rezazadeh, Hamid Baghchesaraei, and Amir Peymani

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Infections with Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, and Trichomonas vaginalis, which cause diarrhea, dysentery, and vaginitis, respectively, are each treated with metronidazole. Here we show that Giardia, Entamoeba, and Trichomonas have oxygen-insensitive nitroreductase (ntr) genes which are homologous to those genes that have nonsense mutations in metronidazole-resistant Helicobacter pylori isolates. Entamoeba and Trichomonas also have nim genes which are homologous to those genes expressed in metronidazole-resistant Bacteroides fragilis isolates. Recombinant Giardia, Entamoeba, and Trichomonas nitroreductases used NADH rather than the NADPH used by Helicobacter, and two recombinant Entamoeba nitroreductases increased the metronidazole sensitivity of transformed Escherichia coli strains. Conversely, the recombinant nitroimidazole reductases (NIMs) of Entamoeba and Trichmonas conferred very strong metronidazole resistance to transformed bacteria. The Ehntr1 gene of the genome project HM-1:IMSS strain of Entamoeba histolytica had a nonsense mutation, and the same nonsense mutation was present in 3 of 22 clinical isolates of Entamoeba. While ntr and nim mRNAs were variably expressed by cultured Entamoeba and Trichomonas isolates, there was no relationship to metronidazole sensitivity. We conclude that microaerophilic protists have bacterium-like enzymes capable of activating metronidazole (nitroreductases) and inactivating metronidazole (NIMs). While Entamoeba and Trichomonas displayed some of the changes (nonsense mutations and gene overexpression) associated with metronidazole resistance in bacteria, these changes did not confer metronidazole resistance to the microaerophilic protists examined here.


Dibyarupa Pal, Sulagna Banerjee, Jike Cui, Aaron Schwartz, Sudip K. Ghosh,  and John Samuelson

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5-Nitroimidazole-based antibiotics are compounds extensively used for treating infections in humans and animals caused by several important pathogens. They are administered as prodrugs, and their activation depends upon an anaerobic 1-electron reduction of the nitro group by a reduction pathway in the cells. Bacterial resistance toward these drugs is thought to be caused by decreased drug uptake and/or an altered reduction efficiency. One class of resistant strains, identified in Bacteroides, has been shown to carry Nim genes (NimA, -B, -C, -D, and -E), which encode for reductases that convert the nitro group on the antibiotic into a non-bactericidal amine. In this paper, we have described the crystal structure of NimA from Deinococcus radiodurans (drNimA) at 1.6 Å resolution. We have shown that drNimA is a homodimer in which each monomer adopts a β-barrel fold. We have identified the catalytically important His-71 along with the cofactor pyruvate and antibiotic binding sites, all of which are found at the monomer-monomer interface. We have reported three additional crystal structures of drNimA, one in which the antibiotic metronidazole is bound to the protein, one with pyruvate covalently bound to His-71, and one with lactate covalently bound to His-71. Based on these structures, a reaction mechanism has been proposed in which the 2-electron reduction of the antibiotic prevents accumulation of the toxic nitro radical. This mechanism suggests that Nim proteins form a new class of reductases, conferring resistance against 5-nitroimidazole-based antibiotics.

Authors: Hanna-Kirsti S. Leiros, Sigrid Kozielski-Stuhrmann, Ulrike Kapp, Laurent Terradot, Gordon A. Leonard and Seán M. McSweeney

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The Clostridium perfringens tetracycline resistance protein, TetA(P), is an inner-membrane protein that mediates the active efflux of tetracycline from the bacterial cell. This protein comprises 420 aa and is predicted to have 12 transmembrane domains (TMDs). Comparison of the TetA(P) amino acid sequence to that of several members of the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) identified a variant copy of the conserved Motif A. This region consists of the sequence E59xPxxxxxDxxxRK72 and is located within the putative loop joining TMDs 2 and 3 in the predicted structural model of the TetA(P) protein. To study the functional importance of the conserved residues, site-directed mutagenesis was used to construct 17 point mutations that were then analysed for their effect on tetracycline resistance and their ability to produce an immunoreactive TetA(P) protein. Changes to the conserved Phe-58 residue were tolerated, whereas three independent substitutions of Pro-61 abolished tetracycline resistance. Examination of the basic residues showed that Arg-71 is required for function, whereas tetracycline resistance was retained when Lys-72 was substituted with arginine. These results confirm that the region encoding this motif is important for tetracycline resistance and represents a distant version of the Motif A region found in other efflux proteins and members of the MFS family. In addition, it was shown that Glu-117 of the TetA(P) protein, which is predicted to be located in TMD4, is important for resistance although a derivative with an aspartate residue at this position is also functional.

Authors: Bannam TL, Johanesen PA, Salvado CL, Pidot SJ, Farrow KA, Rood JI.

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The first vancomycin-resistant clinical isolates of Enterococcus species were reported in Europe in 1988. Similar strains were later detected in hospitals on the East Coast of the United States. Since then, vancomycin-resistant enterococci have spread with unexpected rapidity and are now encountered in hospitals in most countries. This article reviews the mode of action and the mechanism of bacterial resistance to glycopeptides, as exemplified by the VanA type, which is mediated by transposon Tn1546 and is widely spread in enterococci. The diversity, regulation, evolution, and recent dissemination of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus are then discussed.

Author: Patrice Courvalin; Vancomycin Resistance in Gram-Positive Cocci. Clin Infect Dis 2006; 42 (Supplement_1): S25-S34. doi: 10.1086/491711

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H. pylori Clarithromycin resistance


The discovery that Helicobacter pylori infection is the main cause of most gastroduodenal diseases has been a major breakthrough in gastroenterology. It has dramatically changed the management of these diseases which are now considered as infectious diseases and are treated with antibiotics.

Triple therapy, including two antibiotics, amoxicillin and clarithromycin, and a proton pump inhibitor given for a week has been recommended as the treatment of choice at several consensus conferences.1–6 However, this treatment may fail for several reasons, as reported elsewhere.7 In fact, the main reason for failure was found to be H pylori resistance to one of the antibiotics used (that is, clarithromycin). Other treatments have also been proposed, including metronidazole, a drug for which resistance is also a problem although to a lesser extent, as well as tetracycline, fluoroquinolones, and rifamycins for which resistance has become an emerging issue.8,9

Our aim was to review the prevalence of H pylori resistance to these various antibiotics, their clinical importance, and methods of testing, especially in light of the resistance mechanism which allows application of molecular methods.

Author: F Mégraud

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