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Interregional spread in Spain of linezolid-resistant Enterococcus spp. isolates carrying the optrA and poxtA genes

Highlights•Emerge of linezolid-resistant Enterococcus faecalis carrying optrA in Spain.•High dissemination capability of optrA-carrying E. faecalis belonging to ST585 and ST480.•Co-existence of optrA and poxtA plasmid-borne genes in a clinical setting.ABSTRACTThe emergence of linezolid-resistant Enterococcus spp. (LRE) due to transferable resistance determinants is a matter of concern. To understand the contribution of the plasmid-encoded optrA and poxtA genes to the emergence of LRE, clinical isolates from different Spanish hospitals submitted to the Spanish Reference Laboratory from 2015–2018 were analysed. Linezolid resistance mechanisms were screened in all isolates by PCR and sequencing. Genetic relatedness of Enterococcus spp. carrying optrA and poxtA was studied by PFGE and MLST. Antimicrobial susceptibility was tested by broth microdilution using EUCAST standards. A total of 97 LRE isolates were studied, in 94 (96.9%) of which at least one resistance determinant was detected; 84/97 isolates (86.6%) presented a single resistance mechanism as follows: 45/84 (53.6%) carried the optrA gene, 38/84 (45.2%) carried the G2576T mutation and 1/84 (1.2%) carried the poxtA gene. In addition, 5/97 isolates (5.2%) carried both optrA and the G2576T mutation and 5/97 (5.2%) carried both optrA and poxtA. The optrA gene was more frequent in Enterococcus faecalis (83.6%) than Enterococcus faecium (11.1%) and was mainly associated with community-acquired urinary tract infections. Carriage of the poxtA gene was more frequent in E. faecium (13.9%) than E. faecalis (1.6%). Among the optrA-positive E. faecalis isolates, two main clusters were detected by PFGE. These two clusters belonged to ST585 and ST480 and were distributed throughout 11 and 6 Spanish provinces, respectively. This is the first description of LRE carrying the poxtA gene in Spain, including the co-existence of optrA and poxtA in five isolates.

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