The dogma that ampC genes are located exclusively on the chromosome was dominant until about 10 years ago. Since 1989 over 15 different plasmid- encoded AmpC β-lactamases have been reported from several countries. Most of these enzymes evolved in two clusters. The major cluster includes several enzymes with a high similarity to CMY-2, which is the closest related chromosomal AmpC enzyme of Citrobacter freundii. A second cluster centers around CMY-1. It is less homogeneous and not closely related chromosomal AmpC enzymes. Molecular diversification by amino acid substitutions does not usually translate into a change in the resistance phenotype. At this time, CMY-2 appears to be the most prevalent and widely distributed. Further global increase of prevalence and diversity of plasmidic AmpC β-lactamases have to be anticipated in the next millenium.
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