Objectives: The aim of this study was to establish the prevalence of the most common molecular mechanisms involved in tetracycline resistance as well as their relationship with plasmid incompatibility (Inc) groups in a collection of Shigella spp. causing traveller's diarrhoea. Methods: Tetracycline susceptibility was established in 187 Shigella spp. (74 Shigella flexneri and 113 Shigella sonnei), of which 153 isolates were recovered as a confirmed cause of traveller's diarrhoea. The prevalence of the tet(A), tet(B) and tet(G) genes was analysed by PCR. Eighteen plasmid Inc groups was determined in a subset of 59 isolates. Results: Among 154 tetracycline-resistant isolates, 122 (79.2%) harboured at least tet(A) or tet(B). The tet(B) gene was the most frequently detected, being present in 70 isolates (45.5%), whilst tet(A) was detected in 57 isolates (37.0%). The tet(G) gene was present in only 11 (7.2%) isolates. Moreover, the tet(A) gene was more frequent in S. sonnei (P = 0.0007), whilst the tet(B) gene was more frequent in S. flexneri (P < 0.0001). Plasmids belonging to Inc group B (P < 0.05) were significantly more frequent among S. flexneri, whilst those belonging to groups K, FIC and FIIA (P < 0.05) were preferentially detected among S. sonnei. Conclusion: The prevalence of the tet(A) and tet(B) genes differed between S. sonnei and S. flexneri. Moreover, the prevalence of plasmid Inc groups in S. flexneri and S. sonnei differed. However, no relationship was found between the two phenomena.
- Plasmid incompatibility group
- Tetracycline resistance