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Role of mobile genetic elements in the spread of antimicrobial drug resistance
EC contribution
: € 1.852.000
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/01/2006
Funding scheme
: Specific Targeted Research Project
: drug resistance, epidemiology, molecular diagnostics, in vitro diagnostic medical device, mobile genetic element
Contract/Grant agreement number
: LSHM-CT-2005-018705
Project web-site
: -


Mobile DNA provides a major contribution to the spread of antimicrobial resistance, by recruiting new resistance genes in bacterial pathogens and facilitating their horizontal spread. While much is known about individual resistance genes and mechanisms, the nature of the mobile elements and their transfer mechanisms have been clarified only in few cases, and very little is known about their molecular epidemiology. A comprehensive understanding of these aspects could provide a significant breakthrough toward combating dissemination of resistance determinants. The DRESP project aims at investigating these aspects, focussing on few major families of genetic elements that carry a number of important and emerging resistance determinants: i) the double resolvase elements (DR-elements) of gram-positive cocci, involved in spread of macrolide resistance genes in streptococci; ii) the related DR-elements in Gram-negative cocci, an entirely novel type of mobile element; iii) the conjugative transposons encoding vancomycin resistance; iv) the integrons, and (v) plasmids which are the principal carrier for mobile and non mobile elements. The GENERAL OBJECTIVES of DRESP are: a) to investigate the molecular epidemiology of the selected families of mobile elements in clinical and environmental situations; b) to carry out structural and functional analysis of these genetic elements to elucidate transfer mechanisms and their regulation, and to identify possible common molecular themes underlying these functions; c) to promote Information-Sharing and dialogue to stakeholders as to increase the social value and impact on pubic health of the knowledge gained.

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