Bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is constantly evolving and horizontal gene transfer through plasmids plays a major role. The identification of plasmid characteristics and their association with different bacterial hosts provides crucial knowledge that is essential to understand the contribution of plasmids to the transmission of AMR determinants. Molecular identification of plasmid and strain genotypes elicits a distinction between spread of AMR genes by plasmids and dissemination of these genes by spread of bacterial clones. For this reason several methods are used to type the plasmids, e.g. PCR-based replicon typing (PBRT) or relaxase typing. Currently, there are 28 known plasmid types in Enterobacteriaceae distinguished by PBRT. Frequently reported plasmids [IncF, IncI, IncA/C, IncL (previously designated IncL/M), IncN and IncH] are the ones that bear the greatest variety of resistance genes. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of all known AMR-related plasmid families in Enterobacteriaceae, the resistance genes they carry and their geographical distribution.
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