Metallo-β-lactamase producers in environmental microbiota: New molecular class B enzyme in Janthinobacterium lividum

G. M. Rossolini, M. A. Condemi, F. Pantanella, J. D. Docquier, G. Amicosante, M. C. Thaller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eleven environmental samples from different sources were screened for the presence of metallo-β-lactamase-producing bacteria by using a selective enrichment medium containing a carbapenem antibiotic and subsequently testing each isolate for production of EDTA-inhibitable carbapenemase activity. A total of 15 metallo-β-lactamase-producing isolates, including 10 Stenotrophomonas maltophilia isolates, 3 Chryseobacterium spp., one Aeromonas hydrophila isolate, and one Janthinobacterium lividum isolate (a species in which production of metallo-β-lactamase activity was not previously reported), were obtained from 8 samples. In the J. lividum isolate, named JAC1, production of metallo-β-lactamase activity was elicited upon exposure to β-lactams. Screening of a JAC1 genomic library for clones showing a reduced imipenem susceptibility led to the isolation of a metallo-β-lactamase determinant encoding a new member (named THIN-B) of the highly divergent subclass B3 lineage of metallo-β-lactamases. THIN-B is most closely related (35.6% identical residues) to the L1 enzyme of S. maltophilia and more distantly related to the FEZ-1 enzyme of Legionella gormanii (27.8% identity) and to the GOB-1 enzyme of Chryseobacterium meningosepticum (24.2% identity). Sequences related to blaTHIN-B, and inducible production of metallo-β-lactamase activity, were also detected in the J. lividum type strain DSM1522. Expression of the blaTHIN-B gene in Escherichia coli resulted in decreased susceptibility to several β-lactams, including penicillins, cephalosporins (including cephamycins and oxyimino cephalosporins), and carbapenems, revealing a broad substrate specificity of the enzyme. The results of this study indicated that metallo-β-lactamase-producing bacteria are widespread in the environment and identified a new molecular class B enzyme in the environmental species J. lividum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-844
Number of pages8
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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