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NCTC 14055 – a reference control for a blaFRI variant

Healthcare settings are responding to the emergence and spread of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) by introducing routine rectal screening for those patients at risk of CPE carriage.

PHE’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections (AMRHAI) Reference Unit routinely detects carbapenemase genes including the most predominant KPC, OXA-48-like, NDM, VIM and IMP carbapenemases, and also rarer class A carbapenemases such as blaFRI, blaIMI, blaGES and blaSME. During screening of clinical isolates sent to the AMRHAI Reference Unit for investigation of carbapenem resistance, the team identified a variant of FRI-1 in an Enterobacter cloacae complex strain, subsequently named FRI-21, 2.

This particular patient had been admitted for cardiac problems in two hospitals in England, including the referring hospital, in the year before detection. The patient had no recent history of antibiotic administration or travel abroad. No previous CPE had been isolated from this patient, and there had been no previous rectal screening for CPE.

This isolate is believed to be only the second published report of a clinically isolated FRI family carbapenemase; nucleotide sequences for blaFRI-3, blaFRI-4 and blaFRI-5 are however available in Genbank. AMRHAI has deposited the FRI-2 Enterobacter cloacae complex strain with NCTC to ensure that other scientists can easily access a strain with a carbapenemase belonging to the FRI family.

Available as NCTC 14055, this strain can serve as a control for the detection of blaFRI and is also likely to be of interest to researchers hoping to gain a better understanding of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae.

For further information about other NCTC strains that can be used as positive controls for detecting carbapenemase genes such as blaGES-5, blaSME-4, blaSPM-1, blaNMC-A and blaIMI-2 go to news article - NCTC: A dynamic collection with bla bla bla



  1. Dortet, Poirel, Abbas, Oueslati, & Nordmann. (2015). Genetic and Biochemical Characterization of FRI-1, a Carbapenem-Hydrolyzing Class A β-Lactamase from Enterobacter cloacae. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 59(12), 7420-5.
  2. Meunier, Findlay, Doumith, Godoy, Perry, Pike, Gronthoud, Shryane, Poirel, Welfare, Woodford & Hopkins. (2017). FRI-2 carbapenemase-producing Enterobacter cloacae complex in the UK. J Antimicrob Chemother, 72(9), 2478-2482.


Written by Julie Russell 

January 2020