Objective: Faropenem is an oral penem drug with activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including CTX-M-15-type extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriales and anaerobic bacteria. As there are structural similarities, there is concern for the development of carbapenem cross-resistance; however, there are no studies confirming this. This study examined whether in vitro development of faropenem resistance in Escherichia coli isolates would result in cross-resistance to carbapenems. Methods: Four well-characterized E. coli isolates from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention antibiotic resistance isolate bank were utilized. Three isolates (NSF1, NSF2 and NSF3) are ESBL producers (CTX-M-15) and one (NSF4) is pan-susceptible. Faropenem minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined and resistance was induced by serial passaging in increasing concentrations of faropenem. Susceptibility to carbapenems was determined and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was performed to identify the underlying genetic mechanism leading to carbapenem resistance. Results: Faropenem MIC increased from 1 mg/L to 64 mg/L within 10 days for NSF2 and NSF4 isolates, and from 2 mg/L to 64 mg/L within 7 days for NSF1 and NSF3 isolates. Reduced carbapenem susceptibility (ertapenem MIC ≥8 mg/L, doripenem/meropenem ≥2 mg/L and imipenem ≥1 mg/L) developed among three CTX-M-15-producing isolates that were faropenem-resistant, but not in NSF4 isolate that lacked ESBL enzyme. WGS analysis revealed non-synonymous changes in the ompC gene among three CTX-M-15-producing isolates, and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the envZ gene in NSF4 isolate. Conclusion: Induced resistance to faropenem causes cross-resistance to carbapenems among E. coli isolates containing CTX-M-15-type ESBL enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105902
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • carbapenem
  • cross resistance
  • faropenem
  • porin


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