The human intestinal microbiota plays a major beneficial role in immune development and resistance to pathogens. The use of antibiotics, however, can cause the spread of antibiotic resistance genes within the resident intestinal microbiota. Important vectors for this are integrons. This review therefore focuses on the integrons in non-pathogenic bacteria as a potential source for the development and persistence of multidrug resistance. Integrons are a group of genetic elements which are assembly platforms that can capture specific gene cassettes and express them. Integrons in pathogenic bacteria have been extensively investigated, while integrons in the intestinal microbiota have not yet gained much attention. Knowledge of the integrons residing in the microbiota, however, can potentially aid in controlling the spread of antibiotic resistance genes to pathogens.
For more information see:
Pathogens 2014, 3(2), 238-248; doi:10.3390/pathogens3020238 Review Integrons in the Intestinal Microbiota as Reservoirs for Transmission of Antibiotic Resistance Genes. Anuradha Ravi , Ekaterina Avershina , Jane Ludvigsen , Trine M. L'Abée-Lund and Knut Rudi