Ribosomes from Streptomyces griseofuscus expressing tlrA, a resistance gene isolated from the tylosin producer Streptomyces fradiae, are resistant to macrolide and lincosamide antibiotics in vitro. The tlrA product was found to be a methylase that introduces two methyl groups into a single base within 23S rRNA, generating N6,N6-dimethyladenine at position 2058. This activity is therefore similar to the ermE resistance mechanism in Saccharopolyspora erythraea (formerly Streptomyces erythraeus).
An inducible resistance determinant, ermSF, from the tylosin producer Streptomyces fradiae NRRL 2338 has been cloned, sequenced, and shown to confer inducible macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B resistance when transferred to Streptomyces griseofuscus NRRL 23916. From mapping studies with S1 nuclease to locate the site of transcription initiation, the ermSF message contains a 385-nucleotide 5' leader sequence upstream from the 960-nucleotide major open reading frame that encodes the resistance determinant. On the basis of the potential secondary structure that the ermSF leader can assume, a translational attenuation model similar to that for ermC is proposed. The model is supported by mutational analysis involving deletions in the proposed attenuator. By analysis with restriction endonucleases, ermSF is indistinguishable from the tlrA gene described by Birmingham et al. (V. A. Birmingham, K. L. Cox, J. L. Larson, S. E. Fishman, C. L. Hershberger, and E. T. Seno, Mol. Gen. Genet. 204:532-539, 1986) which comprises one of at least three genes from S. fradiae that can confer tylosin resistance when subcloned into S. griseofuscus. When tested for inducibility, ermSF appears to be strongly induced by erythromycin, but not by tylosin.
ErmC' is a methyltransferase that confers resistance to the macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B group of antibiotics by catalyzing the methylation of 23S rRNA at a specific adenine residue (A-2085 in Bacillus subtilis; A-2058 in Escherichia coli). The gene for ErmC' was cloned and expressed to a high level in E. coli, and the protein was purified to virtual homogeneity. Studies of substrate requirements of ErmC' have shown that a 262-nucleotide RNA fragment within domain V of B. subtilis 23S rRNA can be utilized efficiently as a substrate for methylation at A-2085. Kinetic studies of the monomethylation reaction showed that the apparent Km of this 262-nucleotide RNA oligonucleotide was 26-fold greater than the value determined for full-size and domain V 23S rRNA. In addition, the Vmax for this fragment also rose sevenfold. A model of RNA-ErmC' interaction involving multiple binding sites is proposed from the kinetic data presented.
We compared ermSF induction in wild-type Streptomyces fradiae NRRL B-2702 and that in GS-14, a tylA mutant which cannot synthesize tylosin. Our findings suggest that (i) endogenously synthesized tylosin plays an obligatory role in ermSF induction and (ii) tylosin, or a biosynthetic intermediate beyond tylactone, has an "autocrine" function that induces ErmSF synthesis, thereby enabling S. fradiae to resist higher levels of tylosin.
The ErmE methyltransferase from the erythromycin-producing actinomycete Saccharopolyspora erythraea dimethylates the N-6 position of adenine 2058 in domain V of 23S rRNA. This modification confers resistance to erythromycin and to other macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B antibiotics. We investigated what structural elements in 23S rRNA are required for specific recognition by the ErmE methyltransferase. The ermE gene was cloned into R1 plasmid derivatives, providing a means of inducible expression in Escherichia coli. Expression of the methyltransferase in vivo confers resistance to erythromycin and clindamycin. The degree of resistance corresponds to the level of ermE expression. In turn, ermE expression also correlates with the proportion of 23S rRNA molecules that are dimethylated at adenine 2058. The methyltransferase was isolated in an active, concentrated form from E. coli, and the enzyme efficiently modifies 23S rRNA in vitro. Removal of most of the 23S rRNA structure, so that only domain V (nucleotides 2000 to 2624) remains, does not affect the efficiency of modification by the methyltransferase. In addition, modification still occurs after the rRNA tertiary structure has been disrupted by removal of magnesium ions. We conclude that the main features that are specifically recognized by the ErmE methyltransferase are displayed within the primary and secondary structures of 23S rRNA domain V.
The Erm family of adenine-N6 methyltransferases (MTases) is responsible for the development of resistance to macrolide–lincosamide–streptogramin B antibiotics through the methylation of 23S ribosomal RNA. Hence, these proteins are important potential drug targets. Despite the availability of the NMR and crystal structures of two members of the family (ErmAM and ErmC′, respectively) and extensive studies on the RNA substrate, the substrate-binding site and the amino acids involved in RNA recognition by the Erm MTases remain unknown. It has been proposed that the small C-terminal domain functions as a target-binding module, but this prediction has not been tested experimentally. We have undertaken structure-based mutational analysis of 13 charged or polar residues located on the predicted rRNA-binding surface of ErmC′ with the aim to identify the area of protein–RNA interactions. The results of in vivo and in vitro analyses of mutant protein suggest that the key RNA-binding residues are located not in the small domain, but in the large catalytic domain, facing the cleft between the two domains. Based on the mutagenesis data, a preliminary three-dimensional model of ErmC′ complexed with the minimal substrate was constructed. The identification of the RNA-binding site of ErmC′ may be useful for structure-based design of novel drugs that do not necessarily bind to the cofactor-binding site common to many S-adenosyl-l- methionine-dependent MTases, but specifically block the substrate-binding site of MTases from the Erm family.
The erm family of 23S rRNA adenine-N6-methyltransferases confers resistance to all macrolide-lincosamide-streptograminB (MLS) antibiotics, but not all MLS antibiotics induce synthesis of Erm methyltransferase with equal efficiency in a given organism. The induction efficiency of a test panel of MLS antibiotics was studied by using two translational attenuator-lac reporter gene fusion constructs, one based on ermSV from Streptomyces viridochromogenes NRRL 2860 and the other based on ermC from Staphylococcus aureus RN2442. Four types of responses which were correlated with the macrolide ring size were seen, as follows: group 1, both ermSV and ermC were induced by the 14-membered-ring macrolides erythromycin, lankamycin, and matromycin, as well as by the lincosamide celesticetin; group 2, neither ermSV nor ermC was induced by the 12-membered-ring macrolide methymycin or by the lincosamide lincomycin or the streptogramin type B antibiotic ostreogrycin B; group 3, ermSV was selectively induced over ermC by the 16-membered-ring macrolides carbomycin, chalcomycin, cirramycin, kitasamycin, maridomycin, and tylosin; and group 4, ermC was selectively induced over ermSV by the 14-membered-ring macrolide megalomicin. These data suggest that the leader peptide determines the specificity of induction by different classes of MLS antibiotics and that for a given attenuator, a major factor which determines whether a given macrolide induces resistance is its size.
The waxy cell walls of mycobacteria provide intrinsic tolerance to a broad range of antibiotics, and this effect is augmented by specific resistance determinants. The inducible determinant erm(38) in the nontuberculous species Mycobacterium smegmatis confers high resistance to lincosamides and some macrolides, without increasing resistance to streptogramin B antibiotics. This is an uncharacteristic resistance pattern falling between the type I and type II macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B (MLSB) phenotypes that are conferred, respectively, by Erm monomethyltransferases and dimethyltransferases. Erm dimethyltransferases are typically found in pathogenic bacteria and confer resistance to all MLSB drugs by addition of two methyl groups to nucleotide A2058 in 23S rRNA. We show here by mass spectrometry analysis of the mycobacterial rRNA that Erm(38) is indeed an A2058-specific dimethyltransferase. The activity of Erm(38) is lethargic, however, and only a meager proportion of the rRNA molecules become dimethylated in M. smegmatis, while most of the rRNAs are either monomethylated or remain unmethylated. The methylation pattern produced by Erm(38) clarifies the phenotype of M. smegmatis, as it is adequate to confer resistance to lincosamides and 14-member ring macrolides such as erythromycin, but it is insufficient to raise the level of resistance to streptogramin B drugs above the already high intrinsic tolerance displayed by this species.
The intrinsic resistance of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) to most antibiotics, including macrolides, is generally attributed to the low permeability of the mycobacterial cell wall. However, nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are much more sensitive to macrolides than members of the MTC. A search for macrolide resistance determinants within the genome of M. tuberculosis revealed the presence of a sequence encoding a putative rRNA methyltransferase. The deduced protein is similar to Erm methyltransferases, which confer macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin (MLS) resistance by methylation of 23S rRNA, and was named ErmMT. The corresponding gene, ermMT (erm37), is present in all members of the MTC but is absent in NTM species. Part of ermMT is deleted in some vaccine strains of Mycobacterium bovis BCG, such as the Pasteur strain, which lack the RD2 region. The Pasteur strain was susceptible to MLS antibiotics, whereas MTC species harboring the RD2 region were resistant to them. The expression of ermMT in the macrolide-sensitive Mycobacterium smegmatis and BCG Pasteur conferred MLS resistance. The resistance patterns and ribosomal affinity for erythromycin of Mycobacterium host strains expressing ermMT, srmA (monomethyltransferase from Streptomyces ambofaciens), and ermE (dimethyltransferase from Saccharopolyspora erythraea) were compared, and the ones conferred by ErmMT were similar to those conferred by SrmA, corresponding to the MLS type I phenotype. These results suggest that ermMT plays a major role in the intrinsic macrolide resistance of members of the MTC and could be the first example of a gene conferring resistance by target modification in mycobacteria.
Dimethylation of adenine 2058 in 23S rRNA renders bacteria resistant to macrolides, lincosamides, and streptogramin B (MLS resistance), because the antibiotic binding site on the altered 50S ribosomal subunit is no longer accessible. We now report that certain 6-O-methyl-11,12-cyclic carbamate derivatives of erythromycin are able to bind to dimethylated MLS-resistant 50S ribosomal subunits, thus inhibiting protein synthesis and cell growth. One of these novel structures, an 11-deoxy-11-(carboxyamino)-6-O-methylerythromycin A 11,12-(cyclic ester) derivative, structure 1a, was studied in detail. It inhibited in vitro protein synthesis in extracts prepared from both susceptible and MLS-resistant Bacillus subtilis with 50% inhibitory concentrations of 0.4 and 20 microM, respectively. The derivative bound specifically to a single site on the 50S subunit of MLS-resistant ribosomes prepared from B. subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus, and no binding to 30S subunits was observed. The association rate constant of derivative 1a with sensitive and resistant ribosomes was 100- and 500-fold slower, respectively, than that of the parent compound, erythromycin, with sensitive ribosomes. The dissociation rate constant of 1a from sensitive and resistant ribosomes was 50- to 100-fold slower than the rate of erythromycin dissociation from sensitive ribosomes. Furthermore, 1a binding to sensitive 50S subunits led to induction of ermC and ermD, while binding to resistant 50S subunits did not, showing that perturbation of sensitive and resistant 50S subunit function by 1a differs. These data demonstrated that 1a is unique in its interaction with MLS-resistant ribosomes and that this interaction causes a novel allosteric perturbation of ribosome function.
Methylation of specific nucleotides in rRNA is one of the means by which bacteria achieve resistance to macrolides-lincosamides-streptogramin B (MLSB) and ketolide antibiotics. The degree of resistance is determined by how effectively the rRNA is methylated. We have implemented a bacterial system in which the rRNA methylations are defined, and in this study we investigate what effect Erm mono- and dimethylation of the rRNA has on the activity of representative MLSB and ketolide antibiotics. In the test system, >80% of the rRNA molecules are monomethylated by ErmN (TlrD) or dimethylated by ErmE. ErmE dimethylation confers high resistance to all the MLSB and ketolide drugs. ErmN monomethylation predictably confers high resistance to the lincosamides clindamycin and lincomycin, intermediate resistance to the macrolides clarithromycin and erythromycin, and low resistance to the streptogramin B pristinamycin IA. In contrast to the macrolides, monomethylation only mildly affects the antimicrobial activities of the ketolides HMR 3647 (telithromycin) and HMR 3004, and these drugs remain 16 to 250 times as potent as clarithromycin and erythromycin. These differences in the macrolide and ketolide activities could explain the recent reports of variation in the MICs of telithromycin for streptococcal strains that have constitutive erm MLSB resistance and are highly resistant to erythromycin.
Macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B resistance is widespread, with the determinants encoding resistance to antibiotics such as erythromycin being detected in many bacterial pathogens. Resistance is most commonly mediated by the production of an Erm protein, a 23S rRNA methyltransferase. We have undertaken a mutational analysis of the Erm(B) protein from Clostridium perfringens with the objective of developing a greater understanding of the mechanism of action of this protein. A recombinant plasmid that carried the erm(B) gene was mutated by either in vitro hydroxylamine mutagenesis or passage through the mutator strain XL1-Red. Twenty-eight independently derived mutants were identified, nine of which had single point mutations in the erm(B) gene. These mutants produced stable but nonfunctional Erm(B) proteins, and all had amino acid changes within conserved methyltransferase motifs that were important for either substrate binding or catalysis. Modeling of the C. perfringens Erm(B) protein confirmed that the point mutations all involved residues important for the structure and/or function of this rRNA methyltransferase. These regions of the protein therefore represent potential targets for the rational development of methyltransferase inhibitors.
Respiratory tract infections in cattle are commonly associated with the bacterial pathogens Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida. These infections can generally be successfully treated in the field with one of several groups of antibiotics, including macrolides. A few recent isolates of these species exhibit resistance to veterinary macrolides with phenotypes that fall into three distinct classes. The first class has type I macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B antibiotic resistance and, consistent with this, the 23S rRNA nucleotide A2058 is monomethylated by the enzyme product of the erm(42) gene. The second class shows no lincosamide resistance and lacks erm(42) and concomitant 23S rRNA methylation. Sequencing of the genome of a representative strain from this class, P. multocida 3361, revealed macrolide efflux and phosphotransferase genes [respectively termed msr(E) and mph(E)] that are arranged in tandem and presumably expressed from the same promoter. The third class exhibits the most marked drug phenotype, with high resistance to all of the macrolides tested, and possesses all three resistance determinants. The combinations of erm(42), msr(E), and mph(E) are chromosomally encoded and intermingled with other exogenous genes, many of which appear to have been transferred from other members of the Pasteurellaceae. The presence of some of the exogenous genes explains recent reports of resistance to additional drug classes. We have expressed recombinant versions of the erm(42), msr(E), and mph(E) genes within an isogenic Escherichia coli background to assess their individually contributions to resistance. Our findings indicate what types of compounds might have driven the selection for these resistance determinants.
BAL19403 exemplifies a new family of macrolide antibiotics with excellent in vitro activity against propionibacteria. MICs indicated that BAL19403 was very active against erythromycin-resistant and clindamycin-resistant propionibacteria with mutations in the region from positions 2057 to 2059 (Escherichia coli numbering) of the 23S rRNA, although it is less active against those rare clinical isolates in which a methyltransferase, ErmX, confers macrolide and lincosamide resistance by dimethylation of the adenine moiety at position 2058. BAL19403 was predominantly bacteriostatic toward the propionibacteria, and population analyses indicated resistance selection frequencies for BAL19403 and the comparator drugs (erythromycin, clindamycin) in the range 10−8 to 10−9 for cutaneous propionibacteria with diverse antibiotic resistance profiles. On the basis of its antipropionibacterial activity and its high anti-inflammatory activity, BAL19403 represents a promising topical treatment for mild to moderate inflammatory acne vulgaris.
Inducible resistance to macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin type B antibiotics in Streptomyces spp. comprises a family of diverse phenotypes in which characteristic subsets of the macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin antibiotics induce resistance mediated by mono- or dimethylation of adenine, or both, in 23S ribosomal ribonucleic acid. In these studies, diverse patterns of induction specificity in Streptomyces and associated ribosomal ribonucleic acid changes are described. In Streptomyces fradiae NRRL 2702 erythromycin induced resistance to vernamycin B, whereas in Streptomyces hygroscopicus IFO 12995, the reverse was found: vernamycin B induced resistance to erythromycin. In a Streptomyces viridochromogenes (NRRL 2860) model system studied in detail, tylosin induced resistance to erythromycin associated with N6-monomethylation of 23S ribosomal ribonucleic acid, whereas in Staphylococcus aureus, erythromycin induced resistance to tylosin mediated by N6-dimethylation of adenine. Inducible macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin resistance was found in S. fradiae NRRL 2702 and S. hygroscopicus IFO 12995, which synthesize the macrolides tylosin and maridomycin, respectively, as well as in the lincosamide producer Streptomyces lincolnensis NRRL 2936 and the streptogramin type B producer Streptomyces diastaticus NRRL 2560. A wide range of different macrolides including chalcomycin, tylosin, and cirramycin induced resistance when tested in an appropriate system. Lincomycin was active as inducer in S. lincolnensis, the organism by which it is produced, and streptogramin type B antibiotics induced resistance in S. fradiae, S. hygroscopicus, and the streptogramin type B producer S. diastaticus. Patterns of adenine methylation found included (i) lincomycin-induced monomethylation in S. lincolnensis (and constitutive monomethylation in a mutant selected with maridomycin), (ii) concurrent equimolar levels of adenine mono- plus dimethylation in S. hygroscopicus, (iii) monomethylation in S. fradiae (and dimethylation in a mutant selected with erythromycin), and (iv) adenine dimethylation in S. diastaticus induced by ostreogrycin B.
The purified ermC methyltransferase described here incorporates two methyl groups per Bacillus subtilis 23S rRNA molecule in vitro. The Km for S-adenosyl-L-methionine was 12 microM, and for B. subtilis 23S rRNA the Km was 375 nM. In vivo methylation specified by several related resistance determinants prevented in vitro methylation by the ermC enzyme, suggesting that methylation specified by all of these determinants occurs at homologous sites. Since methyl groups were incorporated in protein-free 23S rRNA molecules, the structure of rRNA alone must contain sufficient information to specify the methylation site.
Genes conferring resistance to macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B (MLS) antibiotics via ribosomal modification are widespread in bacteria, including clinical isolates and MLS-producing actinomycetes. Such erm-type genes encode enzymes that mono- or dimethylate residue A-2058 of 23S rRNA. The different phenotypes resulting from monomethylation (MLS-I phenotype, conferred by erm type I genes) or dimethylation (MLS-II phenotype due to erm type II genes) have been characterized by introducing tlrD or ermE, respectively, into an MLS-sensitive derivative of Streptomyces lividans TK21. This strain (designated OS456) was generated by specific replacement of the endogenous resistance genes lrm and mgt. The MLS-I phenotype is characterized by high-level resistance to lincomycin with only marginal resistance to macrolides such as chalcomycin or tylosin, whereas the MLS-II phenotype involves high-level resistance to all MLS drugs. Mono- and dimethylated ribosomes were introduced into a cell-free protein-synthesizing system prepared from S. lividans and compared with unmodified particles in their response to antibiotics. There was no simple correlation between the relative potencies of MLS drugs at the level of the target site (i.e., the ribosome) and their antibacterial activities expressed as MICs.
Erythromycin resistance among streptococci is commonly due to target site modification by an rRNA-methylating enzyme, which results in coresistance to macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B antibiotics (MLSB resistance). Genes belonging to the ermAM (ermB) gene class are the only erythromycin resistance methylase (erm) genes in Streptococcus pyogenes with MLSB resistance that have been sequenced so far. We identified a novel erm gene, designated ermTR, from an erythromycin-resistant clinical strain of S. pyogenes (strain A200) with an inducible type of MLSB resistance. The nucleotide sequence of ermTR is 82.5% identical to ermA, previously found, for example, in Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci. Our finding provides the first sequence of an erm gene other than ermAM that mediates MLSB resistance in S. pyogenes.
Resistance to macrolides in pneumococci is generally mediated by methylation of 23S rRNA via erm(B) methylase which can confer a macrolide (M)-, lincosamide (L)-, and streptogramin B (SB)-resistant (MLSB) phenotype or by drug efflux via mef(A) which confers resistance to 14- and 15-membered macrolides only. We studied 20 strains with unusual ML or MSB phenotypes which did not harbor erm(B) or mef(A). The strains had been isolated from patients in Eastern Europe and North America from 1992 to 1998. These isolates were found to contain mutations in genes for either 23S rRNA or ribosomal proteins. Three strains from the United States with an ML phenotype, each representing a different clone, were characterized as having an A2059G (Escherichia coli numbering) change in three of the four 23S rRNA alleles. Susceptibility to macrolides and lincosamides decreased as the number of alleles in isogenic strains containing A2059G increased. Sixteen MSB strains from Eastern Europe were found to contain a 3-amino-acid substitution (69GTG71 to TPS) in a highly conserved region of the ribosomal protein L4 (63KPWRQKGTGRAR74). These strains formed several distinct clonal types. The single MSB strain from Canada contained a 6-amino-acid L4 insertion (69GTGREKGTGRAR), which impacted growth rate and also conferred a 500-fold increase in MIC on the ketolide telithromycin. These macrolide resistance mechanisms from clinical isolates are similar to those recently described for laboratory-derived mutants.
The cfr gene encodes the Cfr methyltransferase that methylates a single adenine in the peptidyl transferase region of bacterial ribosomes. The methylation provides resistance to several classes of antibiotics that include drugs of clinical and veterinary importance. This paper describes a first step toward elucidating natural residences of the worrisome cfr gene and functionally similar genes. Three cfr-like genes from the order Bacillales were identified from BLAST searches and cloned into plasmids under the control of an inducible promoter. Expression of the genes was induced in Escherichia coli, and MICs for selected antibiotics indicate that the cfr-like genes confer resistance to PhLOPSa (phenicol, lincosamide, oxazolidinone, pleuromutilin, and streptogramin A) antibiotics in the same way as the cfr gene. In addition, modification at A2503 on 23S rRNA was confirmed by primer extension. Finally, expression of the Cfr-like proteins was verified by SDS gel electrophoresis of whole-cell extracts. The work shows that cfr-like genes exist in the environment and that Bacillales are natural residences of cfr-like genes.
Combinatorial peptide display on phage M13 protein pIII was used to discover peptide sequences that selectively bind to ErmC′ methyltransferase from Bacillus subtilis. One peptide, Ac-LSGVIAT-NH2, inhibited methylation in vitro with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 20 μM. Interestingly, the set of six peptides which inhibited ErmC′ stimulated ErmSF, a homologous methyltransferase from Streptomyces fradiae. Thus, Ac-LSGVIAT-NH2 may not act directly at the catalytic center of ErmC′, but may modulate its activity by binding at a structurally unrelated, but functionally linked, site.
ermC specifies an rRNA methyltransferase that confers resistance to erythromycin. The expression of this determinant is induced by the addition of erythromycin. The induction mechanism has been shown to operate posttranscriptionally, and its mechanism has been elucidated. We now show that synthesis of the ermC gene product in Bacillus subtilis is also autoregulated by a mechanism operating on the level of translation. The synthesis of methyltransferase was shown to be gene dosage compensated by Western blot analysis. Several mutants were analyzed that specify altered ermC gene products and are deregulated. Analysis of mutants and of the wild-type strain by Northern blotting demonstrated that autoregulation is posttranscriptional. We suggest a translational repression model in which the ermC methyltransferase binds to its own mRNA, at a region that resembles the methylation target site on 23S rRNA. The overall control of ermC expression is discussed in light of these multiple regulatory mechanisms.
This study is concerned with the isolation and characterization of the enzyme, S-adenosylmethionine:ribosomal ribonucleic acid-adenine (N6−) methyl-transferase [rRNA-adenine (N6-) methylase] of Escherichia coli strain B, which is responsible for the formation of N6-methyladenine moieties in ribosomal ribonucleic acids (rRNA). A 1,500-fold purified preparation of the species-specific methyltransferase methylates a limited number of adenine moieties in heterologous rRNA (Micrococcus lysodeikticus and Bacillus subtilis) and methyl-deficient homologous rRNA. The site recognition mechanism does not require intact 16 or 23S rRNA. The enzyme does not utilize transfer ribonucleic acid as a methyl acceptor nor does it synthesize 2-methyladenine or N6-dimethyladenine moieties. Mg2+, spermine, K+, and Na+ increase the reaction rate but not the extent of methylation; elevated concentrations of the cations inhibit markedly. The purified preparations utilize 9-β-ribosyl-2,6-diaminopurine (DAPR) as a methyl acceptor with the synthesis of 9-β-ribosyl-6-amino-2-methylaminopurine. A comparison of the two activities demonstrated that one methyltransferase is responsible for the methylation of both DAPR and rRNA. This property provides a sensitive assay procedure unaffected by ribonucleases and independent of any specificity exhibited by rRNA methyl acceptors.
The search for a specific rRNA methylase motif led to the identification of the new macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B resistance gene erm(43) in Staphylococcus lentus. An inducible resistance phenotype was demonstrated by cloning and expressing erm(43) and its regulatory region in Staphylococcus aureus. The erm(43) gene was detected in two different DNA fragments, of 6,230 bp and 1,559 bp, that were each integrated at the same location in the chromosome in several S. lentus isolates of human, dog, and chicken origin.
Norway has a low prevalence of antimicrobial resistance, including macrolide-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (MRSP). In a nationwide surveillance program, a total of 2,200 S. pneumoniae isolates were collected from blood cultures and respiratory tract specimens. Macrolide resistance was detected in 2.7%. M-type macrolide resistance was found in 60% of resistant isolates, and these were mainly mef(A)-positive, serotype-14 invasive isolates. The erm(B)-encoded macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B (MLSB) type dominated among the noninvasive isolates. One strain had an A2058G mutation in the 23S rRNA gene. Coresistance to other antibiotics was seen in 96% of the MLSB-type isolates, whereas 92% of the M-type isolates were susceptible to other commonly used antimicrobial agents. Serotypes 14, 6B, and 19F accounted for 84% of the macrolide-resistant isolates, with serotype 14 alone accounting for 67% of the invasive isolates. A total of 29 different sequence types (STs) were detected by multilocus sequence typing. Twelve STs were previously reported international resistant clones, and 75% of the macrolide-resistant isolates had STs identical or closely related to these clones. Eleven isolates displayed 10 novel STs, and 7/11 of these “Norwegian strains” coexpressed MLSB and tetracycline resistance, indicating the presence of Tn1545. The invasive serotype-14 isolates were all classified as ST9 or single-locus variants of this clone. ST9 is a mef-positive M-type clone, commonly known as England14-9, reported from several European countries. These observations suggest that the import of major international MRSP clones and the local spread of Tn1545 are the major mechanisms involved in the evolution and dissemination of MRSP in Norway.