Revista argentina de microbiología
versión On-line ISSN 1851-7617
Integrons gained great interest due to their participation in resistance gene recruitment and expression. Their basic structure includes a fragment that encodes an integrase (intI) followed by a recognition sequence (attI) into which they may incorporate gene cassettes (encoding resistance mechanisms). A promoter (Pc) embedded within the integrase gene controls the transcription of integrated resistance markers, as these genes do not have their own promoters. When in cassettes, resistance genes are flanked by specific sequences (attC), which are recognized by the integrase that, by site specific recombination, incorporates them after attI in proper orientation for their expression. In the past, integrons were classified according to their sequence homology; currently they are classified according to their location. In general, they are divided into "mobile" integrons (those associated with insertion sequences, transposons and/or plasmids, being most of them associated with resistance mechanisms), and chromosomally-located "super" integrons with large arrangements of cassette genes. "Mobile" class 1 integrons are the most abundant in clinical isolates and are generally associated with Tn21 subgroup transposons, followed by class 2, derived primarily from Tn7. These elements are not mobile themselves, but their association with mobile platforms that facilitate horizontal transfer, explains their wide distribution among bacteria. This review also attempts to describe the mobile integrons described so far in Argentina.
Palabras clave : Integrase; Gene cassette; Antibiotic resistance.