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Granada, Spain

Torres-Cortes G.,Genetic Ecology Group | Millan V.,Genetic Ecology Group | Ramirez-Saad H.C.,Metropolitan Autonomous University | Nisa-Martinez R.,Genetic Ecology Group | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2011

The soil microbial community is highly complex and contains a high density of antibiotic-producing bacteria, making it a likely source of diverse antibiotic resistance determinants. We used functional metagenomics to search for antibiotic resistance genes in libraries generated from three different soil samples, containing 3.6Gb of DNA in total. We identified 11 new antibiotic resistance genes: 3 conferring resistance to ampicillin, 2 to gentamicin, 2 to chloramphenicol and 4 to trimethoprim. One of the clones identified was a new trimethoprim resistance gene encoding a 26.8kDa protein closely resembling unassigned reductases of the dihydrofolate reductase group. This protein, Tm8-3, conferred trimethoprim resistance in Escherichia coli and Sinorhizobium meliloti (γ- and α-proteobacteria respectively). We demonstrated that this gene encoded an enzyme with dihydrofolate reductase activity, with kinetic constants similar to other type I and II dihydrofolate reductases (Km of 8.9μM for NADPH and 3.7μM for dihydrofolate and IC50 of 20μM for trimethoprim). This is the first description of a new type of reductase conferring resistance to trimethoprim. Our results indicate that soil bacteria display a high level of genetic diversity and are a reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes, supporting the use of this approach for the discovery of novel enzymes with unexpected activities unpredictable from their amino acid sequences. © 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

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