Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy. 2022-05-17; 66.5: e0179021.

Imipenem/Relebactam Resistance in Clinical Isolates of Extensively Drug Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Inhibitor-Resistant β-Lactamases and Their Increasing Importance

Hujer AM, Bethel CR, Taracila MA, Marshall SH, Rojas LJ, Winkler ML, Painter RE, Domitrovic TN, Watkins RR, Abdelhamed AM, D'Souza R, Mack AR, White RC, Clarke T, Fouts DE, Jacobs MR, Young K, Bonomo RA

PMID: 35435707


Multidrug-resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections are a major clinical challenge. Many isolates are carbapenem resistant, which severely limits treatment options; thus, novel therapeutic combinations, such as imipenem-relebactam (IMI/REL), ceftazidime-avibactam (CAZ/AVI), ceftolozane-tazobactam (TOL/TAZO), and meropenem-vaborbactam (MEM/VAB) were developed. Here, we studied two extensively drug-resistant (XDR) P. aeruginosa isolates, collected in the United States and Mexico, that demonstrated resistance to IMI/REL. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) showed that both isolates contained acquired GES β-lactamases, intrinsic PDC and OXA β-lactamases, and disruptions in the genes encoding the OprD porin, thereby inhibiting uptake of carbapenems. In one isolate (ST17), the entire C terminus of OprD deviated from the expected amino acid sequence after amino acid G388. In the other (ST309), the entire gene was interrupted by an IS1328 insertion element after amino acid D43, rendering this porin nonfunctional. The poor inhibition by REL of the GES β-lactamases (GES-2, -19, and -20; apparent of 19 ± 2 μM, 23 ± 2 μM, and 21 ± 2 μM, respectively) within the isolates also contributed to the observed IMI/REL-resistant phenotype. Modeling of REL binding to the active site of GES-20 suggested that the acylated REL is positioned in an unstable conformation as a result of a constrained Ω-loop.