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.
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.
Three pharmacodynamic models of increasing complexity, designed for two subpopulations of bacteria with different susceptibilities, were developed to describe and predict the evolution of resistance to ciprofloxacin in Staphylococcus aureus by using pharmacokinetic, viable count, subpopulation, and resistance mechanism data obtained from in vitro system experiments. A two-population model with unique growth and killing rate constants for the ciprofloxacin-susceptible and -resistant subpopulations best described the initial killing and subsequent regrowth patterns observed. The model correctly described the enrichment of subpopulations with low-level resistance in the parent cultures but did not identify a relationship between the time ciprofloxacin concentrations were in the mutant selection window (the interval between the MIC and the mutant prevention concentration) and the enrichment of these subpopulations. The model confirmed the importance of resistant variants to the emergence of resistance by successfully predicting that resistant subpopulations would not emerge when a low-density culture, with a low probability of mutants, was exposed to a clinical dosing regimen or when a high-density culture, with a higher probability of mutants, was exposed to a transient high initial concentration designed to rapidly eradicate low-level resistant grlA mutants. The model, however, did not predict or explain the origin of variants with higher levels of resistance that appeared and became the predominant subpopulation during some experiments or the persistence of susceptible bacteria in other experiments where resistance did not emerge. Continued evaluation of the present two-population pharmacodynamic model and development of alternative models is warranted.
Mutations in the flqA (formerly ofx/cfx) resistance locus of Staphylococcus aureus were previously shown to be common after first-step selections for resistance to ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin and to map on the S. aureus chromosome distinctly from gyrA, gyrB, and norA.grlA and grlB, the genes for the topoisomerase IV of S. aureus, were identified from a genomic lambda library on a common KpnI fragment, and grlB hybridized specifically with the chromosomal SmaI A fragment, which contains the flqA locus. Amplification of grlA sequences (codons 1 to 251) by PCRs from nine independent single-step flqA mutants, one multistep mutant, and the parent strain identified mutations encoding a change from Ser to Phe at position 80 in four mutants, a novel change from Ala to either Glu or Pro at position 116 in three mutants, and no change in three mutants. In the multistep mutant, another resistance locus, flqC, was mapped by transformation to the chromosomal SmaI G fragment by linkage to omega(ch::Tn551)1051 (58%) and nov (97.9%), which encodes resistance to novobiocin. This fragment contains the gyrA gene, and flqC mutants had a mutation in gyrA encoding a change from Ser to Leu at position 84, a change previously found in resistant clinical isolates. In genetic outcrosses, the flqC (gyrA) mutation expressed resistance only in flqA mutants, including those with both types of grla mutations. The silent mutant allele of gyrA was present in a flqA background and expressed resistance only upon introduction of a grlA mutation. At fourfold the MIC of ciprofloxacin, the bactericidal activity of ciprofloxacin was reduced in a grlA mutant and was abolished in gyrA grlA double mutants. These findings provide direct genetic evidence that topoisomerase IV is the primary target of current fluoroquinolones in S. aureus and that this effect may result from the greater sensitivity of topoisomerase IV relative to that of DNA gyrase to these agents. Furthermore, resistance from an altered DNA gyrase requires resistant topoisomerase IV for its expression.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Mutations in the grlA and gyrA genes of 344 clinical strains of Staphylococcus aureus isolated in 1994 in Japan were identified by combinations of single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis, restriction fragment length analysis, and direct sequencing to identify possible relationships to fluoroquinolone resistance. Five types of single-point mutations and four types of double mutations were observed in the grlA genes of 204 strains (59.3%). Four types of single-point mutations and four types of double mutations were found in the gyrA genes of 188 strains (54.7%). Among them, the grlA mutation of TCC→TTC or TAC (Ser-80→Phe or Tyr) and the gyrA mutation of TCA→TTA (Ser-84→Leu) were principal, being detected in 137 (39.8%) and 121 (35.9%) isolates, respectively. The grlA point mutations of CAT→CAC (His-77 [silent]), TCA→CCA (Ser-81→Pro), and ATA→ATT (Ile-100 [silent]) were novel, as was the GAC→GGC (Asp-73→Gly) change in gyrA. A total of 15 types of mutation combinations within both genes were related to ciprofloxacin resistance (MIC ≥ 3.13 μg/ml) and were present in 193 mutants (56.1%). Strains containing mutations in both genes were highly resistant to ciprofloxacin (MIC at which 50% of the isolates are inhibited [MIC50] = 50 μg/ml). Those with the Ser-80→Phe or Tyr alteration in grlA but wild-type gyrA showed a lower level of ciprofloxacin resistance (MIC50 ≤ 12.5 μg/ml). Levofloxacin was active against 68 of 193 isolates (35.2%) with mutations at codon 80 of grlA in the presence or absence of a concomitant mutation at codon 73, 84, or 88 in gyrA (MIC ≤ 6.25 μg/ml). The new fluoroquinolone DU-6859a showed good activity with 186 of 193 isolates (96.4%) for which the MIC was ≤6.25 μg/ml.
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.
Staphylococcus aureus gyrA and gyrB genes encoding DNA gyrase subunits were cloned and coexpressed in Escherichia coli under the control of the T7 promoter-T7 RNA polymerase system, leading to soluble gyrase which was purified to homogeneity. Purified gyrase was catalytically indistinguishable from the gyrase purified from S. aureus and did not contain detectable amounts of topoisomerases from the E. coli host. Topoisomerase IV subunits GrlA and GrlB from S. aureus were also expressed in E. coli and were separately purified to apparent homogeneity. Topoisomerase IV, which was reconstituted by mixing equimolar amounts of GrlA and GrlB, had both ATP-dependent decatenation and DNA relaxation activities in vitro. This enzyme was more sensitive than gyrase to inhibition by typical fluoroquinolone antimicrobial agents such as ciprofloxacin or sparfloxacin, adding strong support to genetic studies which indicate that topoisomerase IV is the primary target of fluoroquinolones in S. aureus. The results obtained with ofloxacin suggest that this fluoroquinolone could also primarily target gyrase. No cleavable complex could be detected with S. aureus gyrase upon incubation with ciprofloxacin or sparfloxacin at concentrations which fully inhibit DNA supercoiling. This suggests that these drugs do not stabilize the open DNA-gyrase complex, at least under standard in vitro incubation conditions, but are more likely to interfere primarily with the DNA breakage step, contrary to what has been reported with E. coli gyrase. Both S. aureus gyrase-catalyzed DNA supercoiling and S. aureus topoisomerase IV-catalyzed decatenation were dramatically stimulated by potassium glutamate or aspartate (500- and 50-fold by 700 and 350 mM glutamate, respectively), whereas topoisomerase IV-dependent DNA relaxation was inhibited 3-fold by 350 mM glutamate. The relevance of the effect of dicarboxylic amino acids on the activities of type II topoisomerases is discussed with regard to the intracellular osmolite composition of S. aureus.
The time-kill curve methodology was used to determine the pharmacodynamics of piperacillin, ciprofloxacin, piperacillin-tazobactam and the combinations piperacillin-ciprofloxacin and ciprofloxacin-piperacillin-tazobactam. Kill curve studies were performed for piperacillin, ciprofloxacin, and piperacillin-tazobactam at concentrations of 0.25 to 50 times the MICs for 13 strains of bacteria: four Pseudomonas aeruginosa, three Enterobacter cloacae, three Klebsiella pneumoniae, and three Staphylococcus aureus isolates (tazobactam concentrations of 0.5, 4, and 12 micrograms/ml). By using a sigmoid Emax model and nonlinear least squares regression, the 50% lethal concentrations and the maximum lethal rates of each agent were determined for each bacterial strain. For piperacillin-ciprofloxacin and ciprofloxacin-piperacillin-tazobactam, kill curve studies were performed with concentrations obtained by the fractional maximal effect method (R. C. Li, J. J. Schentag, and D. E. Nix, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 37:523-531, 1993) and from individual 50% lethal concentrations and maximum lethal rates. Ciprofloxacin-piperacillin-tazobactam was evaluated only against the four P. aeruginosa strains. Interactions between piperacillin and ciprofloxacin were generally additive. At physiologically relevant concentrations of piperacillin and ciprofloxacin, ciprofloxacin had the highest rates of killing against K. pneumoniae. Piperacillin-tazobactam (12 micrograms/ml) had the highest rate of killing against E. cloacae. Piperacillin-ciprofloxacin with relatively higher ciprofloxacin concentrations had the greatest killing rates against S. aureus. This combination had significantly higher killing rates than piperacillin (P < 0.002). For all the bacterial strains tested, killing rates by ciprofloxacin were significantly higher than those by piperacillin-tazobactam (4 and 12 micrograms/ml had significantly higher killing rates than piperacillin alone (P < 0.02 and P < 0.004, respectively). The effect of the combination of piperacillin-ciprofloxacin, in which piperacillin concentrations were relatively higher, was not statistically different from that of piperacillin alone (p > or = 0.71). The combination of ciprofloxacin-piperacillin-tazobactam achieved greater killing than other combinations or monotherapies against P. aeruginosa. The reduction in the initial inoculum was 1 to 4 logs greater with ciprofloxacin-piperacillin-tazobactam at 4 and 12 micrograms/ml than with any other agent or combination of agents. On the basis of the additive effects prevalently demonstrated in the in vitro study, the combinations of piperacillin-ciprofloxacin and piperacillin-tazobactam are rational therapeutic options. Greater killing of P. aeruginosa was demonstrated with ciprofloxacin-piperacillin--tazobactam. Since treatment failure of P. aeruginosa pneumonia is a significant problem, clinical studies are warranted.
DNA topoisomerase IV mediates chromosome segregation and is a potential target for antibacterial agents including new antipneumococcal fluoroquinolones. We have used hybridization to a Staphylococcus aureus gyrB probe in concert with chromosome walking to isolate the Streptococcus pneumoniae parE-parC locus, lying downstream of a putative new insertion sequence and encoding 647-residue ParE and 823-residue ParC subunits of DNA topoisomerase IV. These proteins exhibited greatest homology respectively to the GrlB (ParE) and GrlA (ParC) subunits of S. aureus DNA topoisomerase IV. When combined, whole-cell extracts of Escherichia coli strains expressing S. pneumoniae ParC or ParE proteins reconstituted a salt-insensitive ATP-dependent decatenase activity characteristic of DNA topoisomerase IV. A second gyrB homolog isolated from S. pneumoniae encoded a 648-residue protein which we identified as GyrB through its close homology both to counterparts in S. aureus and Bacillus subtilis and to the product of the S. pneumoniae nov-1 gene that confers novobiocin resistance. gyrB was not closely linked to gyrA. To examine the role of DNA topoisomerase IV in fluoroquinolone action and resistance in S. pneumoniae, we isolated mutant strains stepwise selected for resistance to increasing concentrations of ciprofloxacin. We analysed four low-level resistant mutants and showed that Ser-79 of ParC, equivalent to resistance hotspots Ser-80 of GrlA and Ser-84 of GyrA in S. aureus, was in each case substituted with Tyr. These results suggest that DNA topoisomerase IV is an important target for fluoroquinolones in S. pneumoniae and establish this organism as a useful gram-positive system for resistance studies.
Coagulase-negative staphylococcal isolates (n = 188) were screened for susceptibility to oxacillin, ciprofloxacin, and trovafloxacin, a new fluoroquinolone. At an oxacillin concentration of ≥4 μg/ml, 43% were methicillin resistant; of these, 70% were ciprofloxacin resistant (MIC, ≥4 μg/ml). Of the methicillin-resistant, ciprofloxacin-resistant isolates, 46% were susceptible to ≤2 μg of trovafloxacin per ml and 32% were susceptible to ≤1 μg of trovafloxacin per ml. Sixteen isolates, including twelve that expressed fluoroquinolone resistance, were chosen for detailed analysis. Identification of species by rRNA sequencing revealed a preponderance of Staphylococcus haemolyticus and S. hominis among fluoroquinolone-resistant strains. Segments of genes (gyrA and grlA) encoding DNA gyrase and DNA topoisomerase IV were sequenced. Considerable interspecies variation was noted, mainly involving noncoding nucleotide changes. Intraspecies variation consisted of coding changes associated with fluoroquinolone resistance. As for S. aureus, ciprofloxacin resistance (MIC, ≥8 μg/ml) and increased trovafloxacin MICs (0.25 to 2 μg/ml) could be conferred by the combined presence of single mutations in each gyrA and grlA gene. Trovafloxacin MICs of ≥8 μg/ml also occurred, but these required an additional mutation in grlA.
Bacterial adhesion, which plays an important role in Staphylococcus aureus colonization and infection, may be altered by the presence of antibiotics or/and antibiotic resistance determinants. This study evaluated the effect of fluoroquinolone resistance determinants on S. aureus adhesion to solid-phase fibronectin, which is specifically mediated by two surface-located fibronectin-binding proteins. Five isogenic mutants, derived from strain NCTC 8325 and expressing various levels of quinolone resistance, were tested in an in vitro bacterial adhesion assay with polymethylmethacrylate coverslips coated with increasing amounts of fibronectin. These strains contained single or combined mutations in the three major loci contributing to fluoroquinolone resistance, namely, grlA, gyrA, and flqB, which code for altered topoisomerase IV, DNA gyrase, and increased norA-mediated efflux of fluoroquinolones, respectively. Adhesion characteristics of the different quinolone-resistant mutants grown in the absence of fluoroquinolone showed only minor differences from those of parental strains. However, more important changes in adhesion were exhibited by mutants highly resistant to quinolones following their exponential growth in the presence of one-quarter MIC of ciprofloxacin. Increased bacterial adhesion of the highly quinolone-resistant mutants, which contained combined mutations in grlA and gyrA, was associated with and explained by the overexpression of their fibronectin-binding proteins as assessed by Western ligand affinity blotting. These findings contradict the notion that subinhibitory concentrations of antibiotics generally decrease the expression of virulence factors by S. aureus. Perhaps the increased adhesion of S. aureus strains highly resistant to fluoroquinolones contributes in part to that emergence in clinical settings.
Alternate mutations in the grlA and gyrA genes were observed through the first- to fourth-step mutants which were obtained from four Staphylococcus aureus strains by sequential selection with several fluoroquinolones. The increases in the MICs of gatifloxacin accompanying those mutational steps suggest that primary targets of gatifloxacin in the wild type and the first-, second-, and third-step mutants are wild-type topoisomerase IV (topo IV), wild-type DNA gyrase, singly mutated topo IV, and singly mutated DNA gyrase, respectively. Gatifloxacin had activity equal to that of tosufloxacin and activity more potent than those of norfloxacin, ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and sparfloxacin against the second-step mutants (grlA gyrA; gatifloxacin MIC range, 1.56 to 3.13 μg/ml) and had the most potent activity against the third-step mutants (grlA gyrA grlA; gatifloxacin MIC range, 1.56 to 6.25 μg/ml), suggesting that gatifloxacin possesses the most potent inhibitory activity against singly mutated topo IV and singly mutated DNA gyrase among the quinolones tested. Moreover, gatifloxacin selected resistant mutants from wild-type and the second-step mutants at a low frequency. Gatifloxacin possessed potent activity (MIC, 0.39 μg/ml) against the NorA-overproducing strain S. aureus NY12, the norA transformant, which was slightly lower than that against the parent strain SA113. The increases in the MICs of the quinolones tested against NY12 were negatively correlated with the hydrophobicity of the quinolones (correlation coefficient, −0.93; P < 0.01). Therefore, this slight decrease in the activity of gatifloxacin is attributable to its high hydrophobicity. Those properties of gatifloxacin likely explain its good activity against quinolone-resistant clinical isolates of S. aureus harboring the grlA, gyrA, and/or norA mutations.
Two 8-methoxy nonfluorinated quinolones (NFQs), PGE 9262932 and PGE 9509924, were tested against contemporary clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus (n = 122) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (n = 69) with genetically defined quinolone resistance-determining regions (QRDRs). For S. aureus isolates with wild-type (WT) sequences at the QRDRs, the NFQs demonstrated activities 4- to 32-fold more potent (MICs at which 90% of isolates are inhibited [MIC90s], 0.03 μg/ml) than those of moxifloxacin (MIC90, 0.12 μg/ml), gatifloxacin (MIC90, 0.25 μg/ml), levofloxacin (MIC90, 0.25 μg/ml), and ciprofloxacin (MIC90, 1 μg/ml). Against S. pneumoniae isolates with WT sequences at gyrA and parC, the NFQs PGE 9262932 (MIC90, 0.03 μg/ml) and PGE 9509924 (MIC90, 0.12 μg/ml) were 8- to 64-fold and 2- to 16-fold more potent, respectively, than moxifloxacin (MIC90, 0.25 μg/ml), gatifloxacin (MIC90, 0.5 μg/ml), levofloxacin (MIC90, 2 μg/ml), and ciprofloxacin (MIC90, 2 μg/ml). The MICs of all agents were elevated for S. aureus isolates with alterations in GyrA (Glu88Lys or Ser84Leu) and GrlA (Ser80Phe) and S. pneumoniae isolates with alterations in GyrA (Ser81Phe or Ser81Tyr) and ParC (Ser79Phe or Lys137Asn). Fluoroquinolone MICs for S. aureus strains with double alterations in GyrA combined with double alterations in GrlA were ≥32 μg/ml, whereas the MICs of the NFQs for strains with these double alterations were 4 to 8 μg/ml. The PGE 9262932 and PGE 9509924 MICs for the S. pneumoniae isolates did not exceed 0.5 and 1 μg/ml, respectively, even for isolates with GyrA (Ser81Phe) and ParC (Ser79Phe) alterations, for which levofloxacin MICs were >16 μg/ml. No difference in the frequency of selection of mutations (<10−8 at four times the MIC) in wild-type or first-step mutant isolates of S. aureus or S. pneumoniae was detected for the two NFQs. On the basis of their in vitro activities, these NFQ agents show potential for the treatment of infections caused by isolates resistant to currently available fluoroquinolones.
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.
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.
The activity of garenoxacin was investigated in rats with experimental endocarditis due to staphylococci and viridans group streptococci (VGS). The staphylococci tested comprised one ciprofloxacin-susceptible and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) isolate (isolate 1112), one ciprofloxacin-susceptible but methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolate (isolate P8), and one ciprofloxacin-resistant mutant (grlA) of P8 (isolate P8-4). The VGS tested comprised one penicillin-susceptible isolate and one penicillin-resistant isolate (Streptococcus oralis 226 and Streptococcus mitis 531, respectively). To simulate the kinetics of drugs in humans, rats were infused intravenously with garenoxacin every 24 h (peak and trough levels in serum, 6.1 and 1.0 mg/liter, respectively; area under the concentration-time curve [AUC], 63.4 mg · h/liter) or levofloxacin every 12 h (peak and trough levels in serum, 7.3 and 1.5 mg/liter, respectively; AUC, 55.6 mg · h/liter) for 3 or 5 days. Flucloxacillin, vancomycin, and ceftriaxone were used as control drugs. Garenoxacin, levofloxacin, flucloxacillin, and vancomycin sterilized ≥70% of the vegetations infected with both ciprofloxacin-susceptible staphylococcal isolates (P < 0.05 versus the results for the controls). Garenoxacin and vancomycin also sterilized 70% of the vegetations infected with ciprofloxacin-resistant MRSA isolate P8-4, whereas treatment with levofloxacin failed against this organism (cure rate, 0%; P < 0.05 versus the results obtained with the comparator drugs). Garenoxacin did not select for resistant derivatives in vivo. In contrast, levofloxacin selected for resistant variants in four of six rats infected with MRSA isolate P8-4. Garenoxacin sterilized 90% of the vegetations infected with both penicillin-susceptible and penicillin-resistant isolates of VGS. Levofloxacin sterilized only 22 and 40% of the vegetations infected with penicillin-susceptible S. oralis 226 and penicillin-resistant S. mitis 531, respectively. Ceftriaxone sterilized only 40% of those infected with penicillin-resistant S. mitis 531 (P < 0.05 versus the results obtained with garenoxacin). No quinolone-resistant VGS were detected. In all the experiments successful quinolone treatment was predicted by specific pharmacodynamic criteria (D. R. Andes and W. A. Craig, Clin. Infect. Dis. 27:47-50, 1998). The fact that the activity of garenoxacin was equal or superior to those of the standard comparators against staphylococci and VGS indicates that it is a potential alternative for the treatment of infections caused by such bacteria.
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.
A 4.2-kb DNA fragment conferring quinolone resistance was cloned from a quinolone-resistant clinical isolate of Staphylococcus aureus and was shown to possess a part of the grlB gene and a mutated grlA gene. S-80-->F and E-84-->K mutations in the grlA gene product were responsible for the quinolone resistance. The mutated grlA genes responsible for quinolone resistance were dominant over the wild-type allele, irrespective of gene dosage in a transformation experiment with the grlA gene alone. However, dominance by mutated grlA genes depended on gene dosage when bacteria were transformed with the grlA and grlB genes in combination. Quinolone-resistant gyrA mutants were easily isolated from a strain, S. aureus RN4220, carrying a plasmid with the mutated grlA gene, though this was not the case for other S. aureus strains lacking the plasmid. The elimination of this plasmid from such quinolone-resistant gyrA mutants resulted in marked increases in quinolone susceptibility. These results suggest that both DNA gyrase and DNA topoisomerase IV may be targets of quinolones and that the quinolone susceptibility of organisms may be determined by which of these enzymes is most quinolone sensitive.
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.
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.