Previously, we demonstrated the importance of low-level-resistant variants to the evolution of resistance in Staphylococcus aureus exposed to ciprofloxacin in an in vitro system and developed a pharmacodynamic model which predicted the emergence of resistance. Here, we examine and model the evolution of resistance to levofloxacin in S. aureus exposed to simulated levofloxacin pharmacokinetic profiles. Enrichment of subpopulations with mutations in grlA and low-level resistance varied with levofloxacin exposure. A regimen producing average steady-state concentrations (Cavg ss) just above the MIC selected grlA mutants with up to 16-fold increases in the MIC and often additional mutations in grlA/grlB and gyrA. A regimen providing Cavg ss between the MIC and the mutant prevention concentration (MPC) suppressed bacterial numbers to the limit of detection and prevented the appearance of bacteria with additional mutations or high-level resistance. Regimens producing Cavg ss above the MPC appeared to eradicate low-level-resistant variants in the cultures and prevent the emergence of resistance. There was no relationship between the time concentrations remained between the MIC and the MPC and the degree of resistance or the presence or type of mutations that appeared in grlA/B or gyrA. Our pharmacodynamic model described the growth and levofloxacin killing of the parent strains and the most resistant grlA mutants in the starting cultures and correctly predicted conditions that enrich subpopulations with low-level resistance. These findings suggest that the pharmacodynamic model has general applicability for describing fluoroquinolone resistance in S. aureus and further demonstrate the importance of low-level-resistant variants to the evolution of resistance.
Gatifloxacin (GAT) is a new 8-methoxy fluoroquinolone with enhanced activity against gram-positive cocci. Its activity was studied in an in vitro pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic model against five Staphylococcus aureus strains, either susceptible to ciprofloxacin or exhibiting various levels and mechanisms of ciprofloxacin (CIP) resistance: the ATCC 25923 reference strain (MICs of CIP and GAT: 0.5 and 0.1 μg/ml, respectively), its efflux mutant SA-1 (16 and 0.5 μg/ml; mutation in the norA promoter region), and three clinical strains, Sa2102 (2 and 0.2 μg/ml), Sa2667 (4 and 0.5 μg/ml), and Sa2669 (16 and 1 μg/ml), carrying mutations in the grlA (Ser80Tyr or Phe) and gyrA (Ser84Ala) quinolone resistance-determining regions (QRDRs) for Sa2669. Plasmatic pharmacokinetic profiles after daily 1-h perfusion of 400 mg for 48 h were accurately simulated. Thus, mean maximum concentration of drug in serum values for the two administration intervals were 5.36 and 5.80 μg/ml, respectively, and the corresponding half-life at β-phase values were 8.68 and 7.80 h (goodness of fit coefficient, >0.98). Therapeutic concentrations of GAT allowed the complete eradication of the susceptible strain within 12 h (difference between the bacterial counts at the beginning of the treatment and at a defined time: −2.18 at the 1-h time point [t1] and −6.80 at t24 and t48; the bacterial killing and regrowth curve from 0 to 48 h was 30.2 h × log CFU/milliliter). However, mutants (M) with GAT MICs increased by 4- to 40-fold were selected from the other strains. They acquired mutations either supplementary (MSa2102 and MSa2667) or different (Ala84Val for MSa2669) in gyrA or in both gyrA and grlA QRDRs (MSA-1). MSa2667 additionally overproduced efflux system(s) without norA promoter modification. Thus, GAT properties should allow the total elimination of ciprofloxacin-susceptible S. aureus, but resistant mutants might emerge from strains showing reduced susceptibility to older fluoroquinolones independently of the first-step mutation(s).
The development of novel antibacterial agents is decreasing despite increasing resistance to presently available agents among common pathogens. Insights into relationships between pharmacodynamics and resistance may provide ways to optimize the use of existing agents. The evolution of resistance was examined in two ciprofloxacin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus strains exposed to in vitro-simulated clinical and experimental ciprofloxacin pharmacokinetic profiles for 96 h. As the average steady-state concentration (Cavg ss) increased, the rate of killing approached a maximum, and the rate of regrowth decreased. The enrichment of subpopulations with mutations in grlA and low-level ciprofloxacin resistance also varied depending on the pharmacokinetic environment. A regimen producing values for Cavg ss slightly above the MIC selected resistant variants with grlA mutations that did not evolve to higher levels of resistance. Clinical regimens which provided values for Cavg ss intermediate to the MIC and mutant prevention concentration (MPC) resulted in the emergence of subpopulations with gyrA mutations and higher levels of resistance. A regimen producing values for Cavg ss close to the MPC selected grlA mutants, but the appearance of subpopulations with higher levels of resistance was diminished. A regimen designed to maintain ciprofloxacin concentrations entirely above the MPC appeared to eradicate low-level resistant variants in the inoculum and prevent the emergence of higher levels of resistance. There was no relationship between the time that ciprofloxacin concentrations remained between the MIC and the MPC and the degree of resistance or the presence or type of ciprofloxacin-resistance mutations that appeared in grlA or gyrA. Regimens designed to eradicate low-level resistant variants in S. aureus populations may prevent the emergence of higher levels of fluoroquinolone resistance.
NorA is a membrane-associated multidrug efflux protein that can decrease susceptibility to fluoroquinolones in Staphylococcus aureus. To determine the effect of NorA inhibition on the pharmacodynamics of fluoroquinolones, we evaluated the activities of levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and norfloxacin with and without various NorA inhibitors against three genetically related strains of S. aureus (SA 1199, the wild-type; SA 1199B, a NorA hyperproducer with a grlA mutation; and SA 1199-3, a strain that inducibly hyperproduces NorA) using susceptibility testing, time-kill curves, and postantibiotic effect (PAE) methods. Levofloxacin had the most potent activity against all three strains and was minimally affected by addition of NorA inhibitors. In contrast, reserpine, omeprazole, and lansoprazole produced 4-fold decreases in ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin MICs and MBCs for SA 1199 and 4- to 16-fold decreases for both SA 1199B and SA 1199-3. In time-kill experiments reserpine, omeprazole, or lansoprazole increased levofloxacin activity against SA 1199-3 alone by 2 log10 CFU/ml and increased norfloxacin and ciprofloxacin activities against all three strains by 0.5 to 4 log10 CFU/ml. Reserpine and omeprazole increased norfloxacin PAEs on SA 1199, SA 1199B, and SA 1199-3 from 0.9, 0.6, and 0.2 h to 2.5 to 4.5, 1.1 to 1.3, and 0.4 to 1.1 h, respectively; similar effects were observed with ciprofloxacin. Reserpine and omeprazole increased the levofloxacin PAE only on SA 1199B (from 1.6 to 5.0 and 3.1 h, respectively). In conclusion, the NorA inhibitors dramatically improved the activities of the more hydrophilic fluoroquinolones (norfloxacin and ciprofloxacin). These compounds may restore the activities of these fluoroquinolones against resistant strains of S. aureus or may potentially enhance their activities against sensitive strains.
Ciprofloxacin is the substrate for a multidrug resistance-related protein (MRP)-like multidrug transporter in J774 mouse macrophages, which also modestly affects levofloxacin but only marginally affects garenoxacin and moxifloxacin (J.-M. Michot et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 49:2429-2437, 2005). Two clones of ciprofloxacin-resistant cells were obtained by a stepwise increase in drug concentration (from 34 to 51 to 68 mg/liter) in the culture fluid. Compared to wild-type cells, ciprofloxacin-resistant cells showed (i) a markedly reduced ciprofloxacin accumulation (12% of control) and (ii) a two- to threefold lower sensitivity to the enhancing effect exerted by MRP-inhibitors (probenecid and MK571) on ciprofloxacin accumulation or by ciprofloxacin itself. ATP-depletion brought ciprofloxacin accumulation to similarly high levels in both wild-type and ciprofloxacin-resistant cells. Garenoxacin and moxifloxacin accumulation remained unaffected, and levofloxacin showed an intermediate behavior. DNA and protein synthesis were not impaired in ciprofloxacin-resistant cells for ciprofloxacin concentrations up to 100 mg/liter (∼85 and 55% inhibition, respectively, in wild-type cells). In Listeria monocytogenes-infected ciprofloxacin-resistant cells, 12-fold higher extracellular concentrations of ciprofloxacin were needed to show a bacteriostatic effect in comparison with wild-type cells. The data suggest that the resistance mechanism is mediated by an overexpression and/or increased activity of the MRP-like ciprofloxacin transporter expressed at a basal level in wild-type J774 macrophages, which modulates both the intracellular pharmacokinetics and activity of ciprofloxacin.
Platelet microbicidal proteins (PMPs) are small, cationic peptides which possess potent microbicidal activities against common bloodstream pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus. We previously showed that S. aureus strains exhibiting resistance to thrombin-induced PMP (tPMP-1) in vitro have an enhanced capacity to cause human and experimental endocarditis (T. Wu, M. R. Yeaman, and A. S. Bayer, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 38:729–732, 1994; A. S. Bayer et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 42:3169–3172, 1998; V. K. Dhawan et al., Infect. Immun. 65:3293–3299, 1997). However, the mechanisms mediating tPMP-1 resistance in S. aureus are not fully delineated. The S. aureus cell membrane appears to be a principal target for the action of tPMP-1. To gain insight into the basis of tPMP-1 resistance, we compared several parameters of membrane structure and function in three tPMP-1-resistant (tPMP-1r) strains and their genetically related, tPMP-1-susceptible (tPMP-1s) counterpart strains. The tPMP-1r strains were derived by three distinct methods: transposon mutagenesis, serial passage in the presence of tPMP-1 in vitro, or carriage of a naturally occurring multiresistance plasmid (pSK1). All tPMP-1r strains were found to possess elevated levels of longer-chain, unsaturated membrane lipids, in comparison to their tPMP-1s counterparts. This was reflected in corresponding differences in cell membrane fluidity in the strain pairs, with tPMP-1r strains exhibiting significantly higher degrees of fluidity as assessed by fluorescence polarization. These data provide further support for the concept that specific alterations in the cytoplasmic membrane of S. aureus strains are associated with tPMP-1 resistance in vitro.
Fluoroquinolones acting equally through DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV in vivo are considered desirable in requiring two target mutations for emergence of resistant bacteria. To investigate this idea, we have studied the response of Staphylococcus aureus RN4220 to stepwise challenge with sparfloxacin, a known dual-target agent, and with NSFQ-105, a more potent sulfanilyl fluoroquinolone that behaves similarly. First-step mutants were obtained with both drugs but only at the MIC. These mutants exhibited distinctive small-colony phenotypes and two- to fourfold increases in MICs of NSFQ-105, sparfloxacin, and ciprofloxacin. No changes were detected in the quinolone resistance-determining regions of the gyrA, gyrB, grlA, or grlB gene. Quinolone-induced small-colony mutants shared the delayed coagulase response but not the requirement for menadione, hemin, or thymidine characteristic of small-colony variants, a subpopulation of S. aureus that is often defective in electron transport. Second-step mutants selected with NSFQ-105 had gyrA(S84L) alterations; those obtained with sparfloxacin carried a gyrA(D83A) mutation or a novel gyrB deletion (ΔRKSAL, residues 405 to 409) affecting a trypsin-sensitive region linking functional domains of S. aureus GyrB. Each mutation was associated with four- to eightfold increases in MICs of NSFQ-105 and sparfloxacin, but not of ciprofloxacin, which we confirm targets topoisomerase IV. The presence of wild-type grlB-grlA gene sequences in second-step mutants excluded involvement of topoisomerase IV in the small-colony phenotype. Growth revertants retaining mutant gyrA or gyrB alleles were quinolone susceptible, indicating that resistance to NSFQ-105 and sparfloxacin was contingent on the small-colony mutation. We propose that small-colony mutations unbalance target sensitivities, perhaps through altered ATP or topoisomerase levels, such that gyrase becomes the primary drug target. Breaking of target parity by genetic or physiological means eliminates the need for two target mutations and provides a novel mechanism for stepwise selection of quinolone resistance.
In order to clarify the mechanism of action of quinolones against Staphylococcus aureus, GrlA and GrlB proteins of topoisomerase IV encoded by genes with or without mutations were purified separately as fusion proteins with maltose-binding protein in Escherichia coli. The reconstituted enzymes showed ATP-dependent decatenation and relaxing activities but had no supercoiling activity. The inhibitory effects of quinolones on the decatenation activity of topoisomerase IV were determined by quantitative electrophoresis with kinetoplast DNA as a substrate. The 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) of levofloxacin, DR-3354, DU-6859a, DV-7751a, ciprofloxacin, sparfloxacin, and tosufloxacin against topoisomerase IV of S. aureus FDA 209-P were 2.3, 97, 0.45, 1.5, 2.5, 7.4, and 1.8 microg/ml, respectively, and were correlated well with their MICs. The IC50s of these drugs were from 2 to 20 times lower than those for the DNA gyrase. These results support genetic evidence that the primary target of new quinolones is topoisomerase IV in quinolone-susceptible strains of S. aureus. Three altered proteins of topoisomerase IV containing Ser-->Phe changes at codon 80 or Glu-->Lys changes at codon 84 of grlA, or both, were also purified. The inhibitory activities of quinolones against the topoisomerase IV which contained a single amino acid change were from 8 to 95 times weaker than those against the nonaltered enzyme. These results suggest that the mutations in the corresponding genes confer quinolone resistance.
We recently reported that strain EN1252a, a fluoroquinolone-resistant derivative of Staphylococcus aureus NCTC8325 with mutations in grlA and gyrA, expressed increased levels of fibronectin-binding proteins (FnBPs) and showed a significantly higher attachment to fibronectin-coated polymer surfaces after growth in the presence of subinhibitory concentrations of ciprofloxacin. The present study evaluated the occurrence and frequency of fluoroquinolone-induced FnBP-mediated adhesion in clinical isolates of fluoroquinolone-resistant methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA). Eight of ten MRSA isolates and four of six MSSA isolates with grlA and gyrA mutations exhibited significant increases in attachment to fibronectin-coated surfaces after growth in the presence of one-quarter the MIC of ciprofloxacin. Fluoroquinolone-induced FnBP-mediated adhesion of one clinical MRSA strain and the double mutant strain EN1252a also occurred on coverslips removed from the subcutaneous space of guinea pigs. For strain EN1252a, the regulation of fnb transcription by sub-MICs of ciprofloxacin was studied on reporter plasmids carrying fnb-luxAB fusions. One-quarter of the MIC of ciprofloxacin significantly increased fnbB, but not fnbA, promoter activity of the fluoroquinolone-resistant mutant but not its fluoroquinolone-susceptible parent ISP794. This response was abolished by pretreatment with rifampin, indicating an effect at the level of transcription. Activation of the fnbB promoter was not due to an indirect effect of ciprofloxacin on growth rate and still occurred in an agr mutant of strain EN1252a. These data suggest that sub-MIC levels of ciprofloxacin activate the fnbB promoter of some laboratory and clinical isolates, thus contributing to increased production of FnBP(s) and leading to higher levels of bacterial attachment to fibronectin-coated or subcutaneously implanted coverslips.
Of 94 clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus (n = 51) and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) (n = 43), mutations in the quinolone resistance-determining region of topoisomerases GrlA, GrlB, GyrA, and GyrB together with MICs of six quinolones were analyzed. Amino acid substitutions at identical residues (GrlA residues 80 and 84; GyrA residues 84 and 88) were found in S. aureus and CNS. Active efflux, as suggested by blocking by reserpine, contributed substantially to the resistance phenotype in some strains. Among ciprofloxacin, clinafloxacin, levofloxacin, nalidixic acid, trovafloxacin, and sparfloxacin, a 0.5-μg/ml concentration of sparfloxacin discriminated best between strains with two or three mutations and those with no mutations.
The grlA genes of Staphylococcus aureus ISP794 (wild type), MT5224c4 (grlA [Phe-80]), MT5224c2 (grlA [Pro-116]), and MT111 (grlA [Glu-116]) were cloned in pSK950, a shuttle vector, and introduced into S. aureus strains derived from strain RN4220. The mutations at position 116 of GrlA (Ala→Pro or Glu) caused an increase in the level of fluoroquinolone resistance and a decrease in the level of coumarin susceptibility, whereas the mutation at position 80 (Ser→Phe) caused only an increase in the level of fluoroquinolone resistance. In multicopy alleles, both types of mutations were codominant for fluoroquinolone resistance, and mutations at position 116 were also codominant for coumarin resistance.
Fluoroquinolone-resistant mutants were obtained in vitro from Staphylococcus aureus RN4220 by stepwise selection on increasing concentrations of ciprofloxacin. Results from sequence analysis of the quinolone resistance-determining region of GyrA and of the corresponding region of GrlA, the DNA topoisomerase IV subunit, showed an alteration of Ser-80 to Tyr (corresponding to Ser-83 of Escherichia coli GyrA) or Glu-84 to Lys in GrlA of both low- and high-level quinolone-resistant mutants. Second-step mutants were found to have, in addition to a mutation in grlA, reduced accumulation of norfloxacin or an alteration in GyrA at Ser-84 to Leu or Glu-88 to Lys. Third-step mutants derived from second-step mutants with reduced accumulation were found to have a mutation in gyrA. The results from this study demonstrated that mutations in gyrA or mutations leading to reduced drug accumulation occur after alteration of GrlA, supporting the previous findings (L. Ferrero, B. Cameron, B. Manse, D. Lagneaux, J. Crouzet, A. Famechon, and F. Blanche, Mol. Microbiol. 13:641-653, 1994) that DNA topoisomerase IV is a primary target of fluoroquinolones in S. aureus.
The pharmacodynamic properties of levofloxacin (an optically active isomer of ofloxacin), ofloxacin, and ciprofloxacin, alone and in combination with rifampin, were evaluated over 24 to 48 h against clinical isolates of methicillin-susceptible and -resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA 1199 and MRSA 494, respectively) in an in vitro infection model. The incidence of the emergence of resistance among the test strains was also determined. The fluoroquinolones were administered to simulate dosage regimens of 200 mg, 400 mg given intravenously (i.v.) every 12 h (q12h), and 400 and 800 mg given i.v. q24h. Rifampin was dosed at 600 mg i.v. q24h. Although the MICs and MBCs of the quinolones were similar (< or = 0.49 microgram/ml), levofloxacin was the most potent agent in time-kill studies on the basis of the time required to achieve a 99.9% reduction in the number of log10 CFU per milliliter (e.g., with the regimen of levofloxacin [400 mg q24h, 6.5 h] versus ofloxacin [12.5 h], P < 0.024, and levofloxacin versus ciprofloxacin [6.5 versus 9.0 h], P < 0.0017) against MSSA 1199. The killing activity of levofloxacin was similar to that of ofloxacin against MRSA 494 (time to achieve a 99.9% reduction in the number of log10 CFU per milliliter, 11.1 versus 13.8 h, respectively). Levofloxacin and ofloxacin dosed once daily demonstrated greater bactericidal activity than when they were dosed twice daily against MSSA 1199. Resistance to levofloxacin or ofloxacin was not observed with any dosage regimen. Furthermore, resistance to ofloxacin was not detected when the half-life was reduced from 6 to 3 h. Regrowth and stable resistance (65-fold increase in the MIC for MSSA 1199; 16-fold increase in the MIC for MRSA 494) were noted within 24 h of exposure to ciprofloxacin at 200 mg q12h. Combination therapy with rifampin prevented the emergence of resistance to ciprofloxacin. Neither DNA gyrase alteration nor an energy-dependent efflux process mediated by the norA gene appeared to be responsible for the resistance observed. Our data suggest that with levofloxacin there is a more rapid onset of bactericidal activity than with ofloxacin or ciprofloxacin against MSSA 1199 and that the activity of levofloxacin is similar to that of ofloxacin but better than that of ciprofloxacin against MRSA 494. Resistance was noted only after exposure to the low dose of ciprofloxacin. Resistance to ofloxacin did not develop even when the pharmacokinetics of the drug were set to equal those of ciprofloxacin, suggesting that ofloxacin differs from ciprofloxacin irrespective of time of exposure. The resistance to ciprofloxacin that developed in our vitro model may be mediated by the cfx-ofx locus, which has been shown to be associated with low-level fluoroquinolone resistance. Overall, levofloxacin demonstrated potent bactericidal activity against S. aureus, without the emergence of resistance in our infection model. Quinolones dosed once daily were more effective than equivalent dosages administered twice daily. The addition of rifampin was not synergistic but prevented the emergence of ciprofloxacin resistance.
Fluoroquinolone MICs are increased through the acquisition of chromosomal mutations in the genes encoding gyrase (gyrA and gyrB) and topoisomerase IV (parC and parE), increased levels of the multidrug efflux pump AcrAB, and the plasmid-borne genes aac(6′)-Ib-cr and the qnr variants in Escherichia coli. In the accompanying report, we found that ciprofloxacin, gatifloxacin, levofloxacin, and norfloxacin MICs for fluoroquinolone-resistant E. coli clinical isolates were very high and widely varied (L. Becnel Boyd, M. J. Maynard, S. K. Morgan-Linnell, L. B. Horton, R. Sucgang, R. J. Hamill, J. Rojo Jimenez, J. Versalovic, D. Steffen, and L. Zechiedrich, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 53:229-234, 2009). Here, we sequenced gyrA, gyrB, parC, and parE; screened for aac(6′)-Ib-cr and qnrA; and quantified AcrA levels in E. coli isolates for which patient sex, age, location, and site of infection were known. We found that (i) all fluoroquinolone-resistant isolates had gyrA mutations; (ii) ∼85% of gyrA mutants also had parC mutations; (iii) the ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin MICs for isolates harboring aac(6′)-Ib-cr (∼23%) were significantly higher, but the gatifloxacin and levofloxacin MICs were not; (iv) no isolate had qnrA; and (v) ∼33% of the fluoroquinolone-resistant isolates had increased AcrA levels. Increased AcrA correlated with nonsusceptibility to the fluoroquinolones but did not correlate with nonsusceptibility to any other antimicrobial agents reported from hospital antibiograms. Known mechanisms accounted for the fluoroquinolone MICs of 50 to 70% of the isolates; the remaining included isolates for which the MICs were up to 1,500-fold higher than expected. Thus, additional, unknown fluoroquinolone resistance mechanisms must be present in some clinical isolates.
The antistaphylococcal activities of BMS-284756 (T-3811ME), levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, and ciprofloxacin were compared against wild-type and grlA and grlA/gyrA mutant strains of Staphylococcus aureus. BMS-284756 was the most active quinolone tested, with MICs and minimal bactericidal concentrations against S. aureus wild-type strain MT5, grlA mutant MT5224c4, and grlA/gyrA mutant EN8 of 0.03 and 0.06, 0.125 and 0.125, and 4 and 4 μg/ml, respectively. In the time-kill studies, BMS-284756 and levofloxacin exhibited rapid killing against all strains. Ciprofloxacin, however, was not bactericidal for the double mutant, EN8. BMS-284756 and levofloxacin were bactericidal (3 log10 decrease in CFU/ml) against the MT5 and MT5224c4 strains at two and four times the MIC within 2 to 4 h. Against EN8, BMS-284756 was bactericidal within 4 h at two and four times the MIC, and levofloxacin achieved similar results within 4 to 6 h. Both the wild-type strain MT5 and grlA mutant MT5224c4 should be considered susceptible to both BMS-284756 and levofloxacin, and both quinolones are predicted to have clinical efficacy. The in vivo efficacy of BMS-284756, levofloxacin, and moxifloxacin against S. aureus strain ISP794 and its single mutant 2C6(1)-1 directly reflected the in vitro activity: increased MICs correlated with decreased in vivo efficacy. The 50% protective doses of BMS-284756 against wild-type and mutant strains were 2.2 and 1.6 mg/kg of body weight/day, respectively, compared to the levofloxacin values of 16 and 71 mg/kg/day and moxifloxacin values of 4.7 and 61.6 mg/kg/day. BMS-284756 was more potent than levofloxacin and equipotent with moxifloxacin against ISP794 both in vitro and in vivo, while BMS-284756 was more potent than levofloxacin and moxifloxacin against 2C6(1)-1.
Frequencies of mutation to resistance with trovafloxacin and four other quinolones were determined with quinolone-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus RN4220 by a direct plating method. First-step mutants were selected less frequently with trovafloxacin (1.1 × 10−10 at 2 to 4× the MIC) than with levofloxacin or ciprofloxacin (3.0 × 10−7 to 3.0 × 10−8 at 2 to 4× the MIC). Mutants with a change in GrlA (Ser80→Phe or Tyr) were most commonly selected with trovafloxacin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, or pefloxacin. First-step mutants were difficult to select with sparfloxacin; however, second-step mutants with mutations in gyrA were easily selected when a preexisting mutation in grlA was present. Against 29 S. aureus clinical isolates with known mutations in gyrA and/or grlA, trovafloxacin was the most active quinolone tested (MIC at which 50% of isolates are inhibited [MIC50] and MIC90, 1 and 4 μg/ml, respectively); in comparison, MIC50s and MIC90s were 32 and 128, 16 and 32, 8 and 32, and 128 and 256 μg/ml for ciprofloxacin, sparfloxacin, levofloxacin, and pefloxacin, respectively. Strains with a mutation in grlA only were generally susceptible to all of the quinolones tested. For mutants with changes in both grlA and gyrA MICs were higher and were generally above the susceptibility breakpoint for ciprofloxacin, sparfloxacin, levofloxacin, and pefloxacin. Addition of reserpine (20 μg/ml) lowered the MICs only of ciprofloxacin fourfold or more for 18 of 29 clinical strains. Topoisomerase IV and DNA gyrase genes were cloned from S. aureus RN4220 and from two mutants with changes in GrlA (Ser80→Phe and Glu84→Lys). The enzymes were overexpressed in Escherichia coli GI724, purified, and used in DNA catalytic and cleavage assays that measured the relative potency of each quinolone. Trovafloxacin was at least five times more potent than ciprofloxacin, sparfloxacin, levofloxacin, or pefloxacin in stimulating topoisomerase IV-mediated DNA cleavage. While all of the quinolones were less potent in cleavage assays with the altered topoisomerase IV, trovafloxacin retained its greater potency relative to those of the other quinolones tested. The greater intrinsic potency of trovafloxacin against the lethal topoisomerase IV target in S. aureus contributes to its improved potency against clinical strains of S. aureus that are resistant to other quinolones.
Gatifloxacin, an 8-methoxyfluoroquinolone, was found to be two- to fourfold more active against wild-type Staphylococcus aureus ISP794 than its desmethoxy derivative, AM-1121, and ciprofloxacin, another desmethoxy fluoroquinolone. Single grlBA mutations caused two- to fourfold increases in the MIC of gatifloxacin, and a single gyrase mutation was silent. Double mutations in gyrA and grlA or grlB caused a 32-fold increase in the MIC of gatifloxacin, in contrast to a 128-fold increase for ciprofloxacin and AM-1121. Overexpression of the NorA efflux pump had minimal effect on the MIC of gatifloxacin. The bactericidal activity of the three quinolones at four times the MIC differed only for a double mutant, with gatifloxacin exhibiting a killing pattern similar to that for ISP794, whereas ciprofloxacin and AM-1121 failed to show any killing. With gatifloxacin, selection of resistant mutants at twice the MIC was 100- to 1,000-fold less frequent than with the comparison quinolones, and mutants could rarely be selected at four times the MIC. The limit resistance in ISP74 was 512 times the MIC of gatifloxacin and 1,024 times the MICs of ciprofloxacin and AM-1121. Novel mutations in topoisomerase IV were selected in five of the six single-step mutants, three of which were shown to cause quinolone resistance by genetic studies. In conclusion, topoisomerase IV is the primary target of gatifloxacin. In contrast to comparison quinolones, mutations in both topoisomerase IV and gyrase are required for resistance to gatifloxacin by clinical breakpoints and do not abolish bactericidal effect, further supporting the benefit of the 8-methoxy substituent in gatifloxacin.
Premafloxacin is a novel 8-methoxy fluoroquinolone with enhanced activity against Staphylococcus aureus. We found premafloxacin to be 32-fold more active than ciprofloxacin against wild-type S. aureus. Single mutations in either subunit of topoisomerase IV caused a four- to eightfold increase in the MICs of both quinolones. A double mutation (gyrA and either grlA or grlB) caused a 32-fold increase in the MIC of premafloxacin, while the MIC of ciprofloxacin increased 128-fold. Premafloxacin appeared to be a poor substrate for NorA, with NorA overexpression causing an increase of twofold or less in the MIC of premafloxacin in comparison to a fourfold increase in the MIC of ciprofloxacin. The frequency of selection of resistant mutants was 6.4 × 10−10 to 4.0 × 10−7 at twofold the MIC of premafloxacin, 2 to 4 log10 less than that with ciprofloxacin. Single-step mutants could not be selected at higher concentrations of premafloxacin. In five single-step mutants, only one previously described uncommon mutation (Ala116Glu), and four novel mutations (Arg43Cys, Asp69Tyr, Ala176Thr, and Pro157Leu), three of which were outside the quinolone resistance-determining region (QRDR) were found. Genetic linkage studies, in which incross of grlA+ and outcross of mutations were performed, showed a high correlation between the mutations and the resistance phenotypes, and allelic exchange experiments confirmed the role of the novel mutations in grlA in resistance. Our results suggest that although topoisomerase IV is the primary target of premafloxacin, premafloxacin appears to interact with topoisomerase IV in a manner different from that of other quinolones and that the range of the QRDR of grlA should be expanded.
One hundred sixteen unrelated clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus (70 ciprofloxacin resistant and 46 ciprofloxacin susceptible) from eight countries were studied for the presence of mutations in the grlA, grlB, gyrA, and gyrB gene loci. Two mutations within grlA (located at codons 80 and 84) and two mutations within gyrA (located at codons 84 and 88) were clearly associated with ciprofloxacin resistance, although other mutations detected within the four genes studied may also contribute to decreased susceptibility.
Antimicrobial resistance mediated by efflux systems is still poorly characterized in Staphylococcus aureus, despite the description of several efflux pumps (EPs) for this bacterium. In this work we used several methodologies to characterize the efflux activity of 52 S. aureus isolates resistant to ciprofloxacin collected in a hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, in order to understand the role played by these systems in the resistance to fluoroquinolones.
Augmented efflux activity was detected in 12 out of 52 isolates and correlated with increased resistance to fluoroquinolones. Addition of efflux inhibitors did not result in the full reversion of the fluoroquinolone resistance phenotype, yet it implied a significant decrease in the resistance levels, regardless of the type(s) of mutation(s) found in the quinolone-resistance determining region of grlA and gyrA genes, which accounted for the remaining resistance that was not efflux-mediated. Expression analysis of the genes coding for the main efflux pumps revealed increased expression only in the presence of inducing agents. Moreover, it showed that not only different substrates can trigger expression of different EP genes, but also that the same substrate can promote a variable response, according to its concentration. We also found isolates belonging to the same clonal type that showed different responses towards drug exposure, thus evidencing that highly related clinical isolates may diverge in the efflux-mediated response to noxious agents. The data gathered by real-time fluorometric and RT-qPCR assays suggest that S. aureus clinical isolates may be primed to efflux antimicrobial compounds.
The results obtained in this work do not exclude the importance of mutations in resistance to fluoroquinolones in S. aureus, yet they underline the contribution of efflux systems for the emergence of high-level resistance. All together, the results presented in this study show the potential role played by efflux systems in the development of resistance to fluoroquinolones in clinical isolates of S. aureus.
In a previous study (L. G. Garcia et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 56:3700–3711, 2012), we evaluated the intracellular fate of menD and hemB mutants (corresponding to menadione- and hemin-dependent small-colony variants, respectively) of the parental COL methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain and the pharmacodynamic profile of the intracellular activity of a series of antibiotics in human THP-1 monocytes. We have now examined the phagocytosis and intracellular persistence of the same strains in THP-1 cells activated by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and measured the intracellular activity of gentamicin, moxifloxacin, and oritavancin in these cells. Postphagocytosis intracellular counts and intracellular survival were lower in PMA-activated cells, probably due to their higher killing capacities. Gentamicin and moxifloxacin showed a 5- to 7-fold higher potency (lower static concentrations) against the parental strain, its hemB mutant, and the genetically complemented strain in PMA-activated cells and against the menD strain in both activated and nonactivated cells. This effect was inhibited when cells were incubated with N-acetylcysteine (a scavenger of oxidant species). In parallel, we observed that the MICs of these drugs were markedly reduced if bacteria had been preexposed to H2O2. In contrast, the intracellular potency of oritavancin was not different in activated and nonactivated cells and was not decreased by the addition of N-acetylcysteine, regardless of the phenotype of the strains. The oritavancin MIC was also unaffected by preincubation of the bacteria with H2O2. Thus, activation of THP-1 cells by PMA may increase the intracellular potency of certain antibiotics (probably due to synergy with reactive oxygen species), but this effect cannot be generalized to all antibiotics.
Arbekacin is widely used in Japan for the treatment of patients infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In this study, we have determined the optimal concentration targets of arbekacin for both efficacy and safety. A pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic analysis was performed to relate exposure to the drug and clinical cure/improvement or nephrotoxicity. Since we have reported the population pharmacokinetic parameters for arbekacin in the preceding paper (Y. Tanigawara, R. Sato, K. Morita, M. Kaku, N. Aikawa, and K. Shimizu, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 50:3754-3762, 2006), individual exposure parameters, such as area under the concentration-time curve (AUC), peak concentration (Cmax), AUC/MIC, Cmax/MIC, and trough concentration (Cmin) were estimated by the Bayesian method. Logistic regression was used to describe the relationship between exposure to the drug and the probability of clinical cure/improvement or nephrotoxicity. For the clinical efficacy analysis, 174 patients confirmed to have an MRSA infection were evaluated. The Cmax, Cmin, and AUC of arbekacin were associated with the probability of clinical cure/improvement during monotherapy. It was shown that the probability of cure/improvement rose when the Cmax of arbekacin was increased, with an odds ratio of 6.7 for a change in Cmax from 7.9 to 12.5 μg/ml (P = 0.037). For the nephrotoxic risk analysis, 333 patients were included, regardless of whether a pathogen was identified. Logistic regression analysis revealed Cmin and AUC as risk factors of nephrotoxicity (P < 0.005). The estimated probabilities of arbekacin-induced nephrotoxicity were 2.5, 5.2, and 13.1% when the Cmin values were 1, 2, and 5 μg/ml, respectively. The present findings are useful for optimizing the individual dose of arbekacin for the treatment of MRSA-infected patients.
Resistance to fluoroquinolones among clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus has become a clinical problem. Therefore, a rapid method to identify S. aureus and its susceptibility to fluoroquinolones could provide clinicians with a useful tool for the appropriate use of these antimicrobial agents in the health care settings. In this study, we developed a rapid real-time PCR assay for the detection of S. aureus and mutations at codons Ser-80 and Glu-84 of the grlA gene encoding the DNA topoisomerase IV, which are associated with decreased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. The detection limit of the assay was 10 genome copies per reaction. The PCR assay was negative with DNA from all 26 non-S. aureus bacterial species tested. A total of 85 S. aureus isolates with various levels of fluoroquinolone resistance was tested with the PCR assay. The PCR assay correctly identified 100% of the S. aureus isolates tested compared to conventional culture methods. The correlation between the MICs of ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and gatifloxacin and the PCR results was 98.8%. The total time required for the identification of S. aureus and determination of its susceptibility to fluoroquinolones was about 45 min, including DNA extraction. This new rapid PCR assay represents a powerful method for the detection of S. aureus and its susceptibility to fluoroquinolones.
Previous studies have shown that topoisomerase IV and DNA gyrase interact with quinolones and coumarins in different ways. The MICs of coumarins (novobiocin and coumermycin) for MT5, a Staphylococcus aureus nov mutant, are higher than those for wild-type strains. Sequencing the gyrB gene encoding one subunit of the DNA gyrase revealed the presence of a double mutation likely to be responsible for this resistance: at codon 102 (Ile to Ser) and at codon 144 (Arg to Ile). For single-step flqA mutant MT5224c9, previously selected on ciprofloxacin, the fluoroquinolone MIC was higher and the coumarin MIC was lower than those for its parent, MT5. Sequencing the grlB and grlA genes of topoisomerase IV of MT5224c9 showed a single Asn-470-to-Asp mutation in GrlB. Genetic outcrosses by transformation with chromosomal DNA and introduction of plasmids carrying either the wild-type or the mutated grlB gene indicated that this mutation causes both increased MICs of fluoroquinolones and decreased MICs of coumarins and that the mutant grlB allele is codominant for both phenotypes with multicopy alleles. Integration of these plasmids into the chromosome confirmed the codominance of fluoroquinolone resistance, but grlB+ appeared dominant over grlB (Asp-470) for coumarin resistance. Finally, the gyrA (Leu-84) mutation previously described as silent for fluoroquinolone resistance increased the MIC of nalidixic acid, a nonfluorinated quinolone. Combining the grlA (Phe-80) and grlB (Asp-470) mutations with this gyrA mutation also had differing effects. The findings indicate that alterations in topoisomerases may have pleiotropic effects on different classes of inhibitors as well as on inhibitors within the same class. A full understanding of drug action and resistance at the molecular level must take into account both inhibitor structure-activity relationships and the effects of different classes of topoisomerase mutants.
The new 8-methoxyquinolone moxifloxacin was tested against two ciprofloxacin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus strains (strains P8 and COL) and two ciprofloxacin-resistant derivatives of strain P8 carrying a single grlA mutation (strain P8-4) and double grlA and gyrA mutations (strain P8-128). All strains were resistant to methicillin. The MICs of ciprofloxacin and moxifloxacin were 0.5 and 0.125 mg/liter, respectively, for P8; 0.25 and 0.125 mg/liter, respectively, for COL; 8 and 0.25 mg/liter, respectively, for P8-4; and ≥128 and 2 mg/liter, respectively, for P8-128. In vitro, the rate of spontaneous resistance of P8 and COL was 10−7 on agar plates containing ciprofloxacin at two times the MIC, whereas it was ≤10−10 on agar plates containing moxifloxacin at two times the MIC. Rats with experimental aortic endocarditis were treated with doses of drugs that simulate the kinetics in humans: moxifloxacin, 400 mg orally once a day; ciprofloxacin, 750 mg orally twice a day; or vancomycin, 1 g intravenously twice a day. Treatment was started either 12 or 24 h after infection and lasted for 3 days. Moxifloxacin treatment resulted in culture-negative vegetations in a total of 20 of 21 (95%) rats infected with P8, 10 of 11 (91%) rats infected with COL, and 19 of 24 (79%) rats infected with P8-4 (P < 0.05 compared to the results for the controls). In contrast, ciprofloxacin treatment sterilized zero of nine (0%) vegetations infected with first-level resistant mutant P8-4. Vancomycin sterilized only 8 of 15 (53%), 6 of 11 (54%), and 12 of 23 (52%) of the vegetations, respectively. No moxifloxacin-resistant derivative emerged among these organisms. However, moxifloxacin treatment of highly ciprofloxacin-resistant mutant P8-128 failed and selected for variants for which the MIC increased two times in 2 of 10 animals. Thus, while oral moxifloxacin might deserve consideration as treatment for staphylococcal infections in humans, caution related to its use against strains for which MICs are borderline is warranted.