Thursday, March 31, 2011

Acronym in biochemistry and bacteriology: NDM-1 for New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase

NDM-1 is an enzyme named by Timothy Walsh of Cardiff University in Wales for the city from which a Swedish patient had acquired a Klebsiella pneumoniae strain with a gene producing this bacteria-resistant enzyme : New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase [1-3]. The associated gene is denoted blaNDM-1. The Swedish patient of Indian origin had traveled to New Delhi, India, and acquired a urinary tract infection. Hospitalized in Örebro, Sweden, he was treated by the Swedish physician Christian Giske, who then contacted his acquaintance Timothy Walsh, who runs a lab that unravels the genetics of antibacterial resistance, for consultation concerning the bacterium found in the man's urine.

The NDM-1-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae strain is making headlines since it is resistant to antibiotics including carbapenems, the so-called drugs of last resort [1]. The only drug showing some effect is colistin, which also shows toxic effects on the kidneys.

Keywords: New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, NDM-1-producing Enterobacteriaceae, bacterial genes, drug-resistant bacteria, disease control, medicine

[1] Maryn McKenna:
The Enemy Within. Scientific American April 2011, 304 (4), 47-53.
[2] D. Yong et al.:
Characterization of a New Metallo-β-Lactamase Gene, blaNDM-1, and a Novel Erythromycin Esterase Gene Carried on a Unique Genetic Structure in Klebsiella pneumoniae Sequence Type 14 from India. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Dec. 2009, 53 (12), 5046-5054.
[3] N. Tijet et al.:
New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase, Ontario, Canada. Emerging Infectious Diseases Feb. 2011, 17 (2), 306-307. PDF.

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