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1.  Distribution of Serotypes, Genotypes, and Resistance Determinants among Macrolide-Resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolates ▿  
Macrolide resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae has emerged as an important clinical problem worldwide over the past decade. The aim of this study was to analyze the phenotypes (serotype and antibiotic susceptibility), genotypes (multilocus sequence type [MLST] and antibiotic resistance gene/transposon profiles) among the 31% (102/328) of invasive isolates from children in New South Wales, Australia, in 2005 that were resistant to erythromycin. Three serotypes—19F (47 isolates [46%]), 14 (27 isolates [26%]), and 6B (12 isolates [12%])—accounted for 86 (84%) of these 102 isolates. Seventy four (73%) isolates had the macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B (MLSB) resistance phenotype and carried Tn916 transposons (most commonly Tn6002); of these, 73 (99%) contained the erythromycin ribosomal methylase gene [erm(B)], 34 (47%) also carried the macrolide efflux gene [mef(E)], and 41 (55%) belonged to serotype 19F. Of 28 (27%) isolates with the M phenotype, 22 (79%) carried mef(A), including 16 (57%) belonging to serotype 14, and only six (19%) carried Tn916 transposons. Most (84%) isolates which contained mef also contained one of the msr(A) homologues, mel or msr(D); 38 of 40 (95%) isolates with mef(E) (on mega) carried mel, and of 28 (39%) isolates with mef(A), 10 (39%) carried mel and another 11(39%) carried msr(D), on Tn1207.1. Two predominant macrolide-resistant S. pneumoniae clonal clusters (CCs) were identified in this population. CC-271 contained 44% of isolates, most of which belonged to serotype 19F, had the MLSB phenotype, were multidrug resistant, and carried transposons of the Tn916 family; CC-15 contained 23% of isolates, most of which were serotype 14, had the M phenotype, and carried mef(A) on Tn1207.1. Erythromycin resistance among S. pneumoniae isolates in New South Wales is mainly due to the dissemination of multidrug-resistant S. pneumoniae strains or horizontal spread of the Tn916 family of transposons.
PMCID: PMC2825966  PMID: 20065057
2.  Macrolide resistance determinants among Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from carriers in Central Greece 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:255.
We sought to characterize the temporal trends in nasopharyngeal carriage of macrolide-resistant pneumococci during a period with increased heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) coverage in Central Greece.
Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates were recovered from 2649 nasopharyngeal samples obtained from day-care center attendees in Central Greece during 2005–2009. A phenotypic and genotypic analysis of the isolates was performed, including the identification of macrolide resistance genes mef(A), subclasses mef(A) and mef(E), as well as erm(B).
Of the 1105 typeable S. pneumoniae isolates, 265 (24%) were macrolide-resistant; 22% in 2005, 33.3% in 2006, 23.7% in 2007, and 20.5% in 2009 (P=0.398). Among these macrolide-resistant pneumococci, 28.5% possessed erm(B), 24.3% erm(B)+mef(E), 41.8% mef(E), and 5.3% mef(A). A mef gene as the sole resistance determinant was carried by 31% of macrolide-resistant isolates belonging to PCV7 serotypes and 75.8% of the non-PCV7 serotypes. Across the 4 annual surveillances, pneumococci carrying mef(A) gradually disappeared, whereas serotype 19F isolates carrying both erm(B) and mef(E) persisted without significant yearly fluctuations. Among isolates belonging to non-PCV7 serotypes, macrolide-resistance was observed in those of serotypes 6A, 19A, 10A, 15A, 15B/C, 35F, 35A, and 24F. In 2009, ie 5 years after the introduction of PCV7 in our country, 59% of macrolide-resistant pneumococci belonged to non-PCV7 serotypes.
Across the study period, the annual frequency of macrolide-resistant isolates did not change significantly, but in 2009 a marked shift to non-PCV7 serotypes occurred. Overall, more than half of the macrolide-resistant isolates possessed erm(B) either alone or in combination with mef(E). erm(B) dominated among isolates belonging to PCV7 serotypes, but not among those of non-PCV7 serotypes.
PMCID: PMC3484024  PMID: 23057516
3.  Molecular Resistance Mechanisms of Macrolide-Resistant Invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolates from Alaska, 1986 to 2010 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2013;57(11):5415-5422.
The rapid emergence of antibiotic-resistant pneumococcal strains has reduced treatment options. The aim of this study was to determine antimicrobial susceptibilities, serotype distributions, and molecular resistance mechanisms among macrolide-resistant invasive pneumococcal isolates in Alaska from 1986 to 2010. We identified cases of invasive pneumococcal disease in Alaska from 1986 to 2010 through statewide population-based laboratory surveillance. All invasive pneumococcal isolates submitted to the Arctic Investigations Program laboratory were confirmed by standard microbiological methods and serotyped by slide agglutination and the Quellung reaction. MICs were determined by the broth microdilution method, and macrolide-resistant genotypes were determined by multiplex PCR. Among 2,923 invasive pneumococcal isolates recovered from 1986 to 2010, 270 (9.2%) were nonsusceptible to erythromycin; 177 (66%) erythromycin-nonsusceptible isolates demonstrated coresistance to penicillin, and 167 (62%) were multidrug resistant. The most frequent serotypes among the macrolide-resistant isolates were serotypes 6B (23.3%), 14 (20.7%), 19A (16.7%), 9V (8.9%), 19F (6.3%), 6A (5.6%), and 23F (4.8%). mef and erm(B) genes were detected in 207 (77%) and 32 (12%) of the isolates, respectively. Nineteen (7%) of the erythromycin-nonsusceptible isolates contained both mef and erm(B) genotypes; 15 were of serotype 19A. There was significant year-to-year variation in the proportion of isolates that were nonsusceptible to erythromycin (P < 0.001). Macrolide resistance among pneumococcal isolates from Alaska is mediated predominantly by mef genes, and this has not changed significantly over time. However, there was a statistically significant increase in the proportion of isolates that possess both erm(B) and mef, primarily due to serotype 19A isolates.
PMCID: PMC3811267  PMID: 23959308
4.  Streptococcus agalactiae in Brazil: serotype distribution, virulence determinants and antimicrobial susceptibility 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:323.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) remains a major cause of neonatal sepsis and is also associated with invasive and noninvasive infections in pregnant women and non-pregnant adults, elderly and patients with underlying medical conditions. Ten capsular serotypes have been recognized, and determination of their distribution within a specific population or geographical region is important as they are major targets for the development of vaccine strategies. We have evaluated the characteristics of GBS isolates recovered from individuals with infections or colonization by this microorganism, living in different geographic regions of Brazil.
A total of 434 isolates were identified and serotyped by conventional phenotypic tests. The determination of antimicrobial susceptibility was performed by the disk diffusion method. Genes associated with resistance to erythromycin (ermA, ermB, mefA) and tetracycline (tetK, tetL, tetM, tetO) as well as virulence-associated genes (bac, bca, lmb, scpB) were investigated using PCR. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to examine the genetic diversity of macrolide-resistant and of a number of selected macrolide-susceptible isolates.
Overall, serotypes Ia (27.6%), II (19.1%), Ib (18.7%) and V (13.6%) were the most predominant, followed by serotypes IV (8.1%) and III (6.7%). All the isolates were susceptible to the beta-lactam antimicrobials tested and 97% were resistant to tetracycline. Resistance to erythromycin and clindamycin were found in 4.1% and 3% of the isolates, respectively. Among the resistance genes investigated, tetM (99.3%) and tetO (1.8%) were detected among tetracycline-resistant isolates and ermA (39%) and ermB (27.6%) were found among macrolide-resistant isolates. The lmb and scpB virulence genes were detected in all isolates, while bac and bca were detected in 57 (13.1%) and 237 (54.6%) isolates, respectively. Molecular typing by PFGE showed that resistance to erythromycin was associated with a variety of clones.
These findings indicate that GBS isolates circulating in Brazil have a variety of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, and suggest that macrolide-resistant isolates may arise by both clonal spread and independent acquisition of resistance genes.
PMCID: PMC4061772  PMID: 24919844
5.  In Vitro Activity of Solithromycin against Erythromycin-Resistant Streptococcus agalactiae 
The in vitro antibacterial activity of solithromycin (CEM-101) against macrolide-resistant isolates (n = 62) of Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococcus [GBS]) was determined. Phenotypic characterization of macrolide-resistant strains was performed by double-disc diffusion testing. A multiplex PCR was used to identify the erm(B), erm(TR), and mef(A/E) genes, capsular genotypes, and alpha-like (Alp) protein genes from the GBS strains. Determination of MIC was carried out using the microdilution broth method. The Etest method was used for penicillin, azithromycin, clarithromycin, and erythromycin. Solithromycin had a MIC50 of ≤0.008 μg/ml and a MIC90 of 0.015 μg/ml against macrolide-susceptible S. agalactiae. These MICs were lower than those displayed by penicillin (MIC50 of 0.032 μg/ml and MIC90 of 0.047 μg/ml), the antibiotic agent of choice for prophylaxis and treatment of GBS infections. Against macrolide-resistant S. agalactiae, solithromycin had a MIC50 of 0.03 μg/ml and a MIC90 of 0.125 μg/ml. Against erm(B) strains, solithromycin had a MIC50 of 0.03 μg/ml and a MIC90 of 0.06 μg/ml, while against mef(A) strains, it had a MIC50 of 0.03 μg/ml and a MIC90 of 0.125 μg/ml. Most erythromycin-resistant GBS strains were of serotype V (64.5%) and associated significantly with alp2-3. Moreover, a statistically significant association was observed between the constitutive macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B resistance (cMLSB) phenotype and the erm(B) gene-carrying strains, the alp2-3 gene and the M phenotype, and the mef(A/E) gene and epsilon. Overall, our results show that solithromycin had lower or similar MICs than penicillin and potent activity against macrolide-resistant strains independent of their genotype or phenotype, representing a valid therapeutic alternative where β-lactams cannot be used.
PMCID: PMC3957870  PMID: 24379197
6.  Molecular Epidemiology of Macrolide-Resistant Isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae Collected from Blood and Respiratory Specimens in Norway 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2005;43(5):2125-2132.
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.
PMCID: PMC1153744  PMID: 15872231
7.  Polyclonal Population Structure of Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolates in Spain Carrying mef and mef plus erm(B)▿  
The population structure (serotypes, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis [PFGE] types, and multilocus sequencing types) of 45 mef-positive Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates [carrying mef alone (n = 17) or with the erm(B) gene n = 28)] were studied. They were selected from among all erythromycin-resistant isolates (n = 244) obtained from a collection of 712 isolates recovered from different Spanish geographic locations in the prevaccination period from 1999 to 2003. The overall rates of resistance (according to the criteria of the CLSI) among the 45 mef-positive isolates were as follows: penicillin G, 82.2%; cefotaxime, 22.2%; clindamycin, 62.2%; and tetracycline, 68.8% [mainly in isolates carrying erm(B) plus mef(E); P < 0.001]. No levofloxacin or telithromycin resistance was found. Macrolide resistance phenotypes (as determined by the disk diffusion approximation test) were 37.7% for macrolide resistance [with all but one due to mef(E)] and 62.2% for constitutive macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B resistance [cMLSB; with all due to mef(E) plus erm(B)]. Serotypes 14 (22.2%), 6B (17.7%), 19A (13.3%), and 19F (11.1%) were predominant. Twenty-five different DNA patterns (PFGE types) were observed. Our mef-positive isolates were grouped (by eBURST analysis) into four clonal complexes (n = 18) and 19 singleton clones (n = 27). With the exception of clone Spain9V-3, all clonal complexes (clonal complexes 6B, Spain6B-2, and Sweden15A-25) and 73.6% of singleton clones carried both the erm(B) and the mef(E) genes. The international multiresistant clones Spain23F-1 and Poland6B-20 were represented as singleton clones. A high proportion of mef-positive S. pneumoniae isolates presented the erm(B) gene, with all isolates expressing the cMLSB phenotype. A polyclonal population structure was demonstrated within our Spanish mef-positive S. pneumoniae isolates, with few clonal complexes overrepresented within this collection.
PMCID: PMC2415790  PMID: 18362188
8.  Mechanisms, molecular and sero-epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance in bacterial respiratory pathogens isolated from Japanese children 
The clinical management of community-acquired respiratory tract infections (RTIs) is complicated by the increasing worldwide prevalence of antibacterial resistance, in particular, β-lactam and macrolide resistance, among the most common causative bacterial pathogens. This study aimed to determine the mechanisms and molecular- and sero-epidemiology of antibacterial resistance among the key paediatric respiratory pathogens in Japan.
Isolates were collected at 18 centres in Japan during 2002 and 2003 from children with RTIs as part of the PROTEKT surveillance programme. A proportion of Haemophilus influenzae isolates was subjected to sequencing analysis of the ftsI gene; phylogenetic relatedness was assessed using multilocus sequence typing. Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates were screened for macrolide-resistance genotype by polymerase chain reaction and serotyped using the capsular swelling method. Susceptibility of isolates to selected antibacterials was performed using CLSI methodology.
Results and Discussion
Of the 557 H. influenzae isolates collected, 30 (5.4%) were β-lactamase-positive [BL+], 115 (20.6%) were BL-nonproducing ampicillin-resistant (BLNAR; MIC ≥ 4 mg/L) and 79 (14.2%) were BL-nonproducing ampicillin-intermediate (BLNAI; MIC 2 mg/L). Dabernat Group III penicillin binding protein 3 (PBP3) amino acid substitutions in the ftsI gene were closely correlated with BLNAR status but phylogenetic analysis indicated marked clonal diversity. PBP mutations were also found among BL+ and BL-nonproducing ampicillin-sensitive isolates. Of the antibacterials tested, azithromycin and telithromycin were the most active against H. influenzae (100% and 99.3% susceptibility, respectively). A large proportion (75.2%) of the 468 S. pneumoniae isolates exhibited macrolide resistance (erythromycin MIC ≥ 1 mg/L); erm(B) was the most common macrolide resistance genotype (58.8%), followed by mef(A) (37.2%). The most common pneumococcal serotypes were 6B (19.7%), 19F (13.7%), 23F (13.5%) and 6A (12.8%). Telithromycin and amoxicillin-clavulanate were the most active antibacterials against S. pneumoniae (99.8% and 99.6% susceptibility, respectively).
Approximately one-third of H. influenzae isolates from paediatric patients in Japan are BLNAI/BLNAR, mainly as a result of clonally diverse PBP3 mutations. Together with the continued high prevalence of pneumococcal macrolide resistance, these results may have implications for the clinical management of paediatric RTIs in Japan.
PMCID: PMC2020463  PMID: 17697316
9.  Microbiological characterization of Streptococcus pneumoniae and non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae isolates as primary causes of acute otitis media in Bulgarian children before the introduction of conjugate vaccines 
Pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines were introduced in our national immunisation program in April 2010. The aims of this retrospective, laboratory-based study were to determine the serotypes and antibiotic resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae and H. influenzae isolates from middle ear fluid (MEF) collected before the introduction of immunization.
S. pneumoniae (n = 128) and H. influenzae (n = 40) strains isolated from MEF of children with AOM between 1994 and 2011 were studied. MICs were determined by a microdilution assay. Serotyping of S. pneumoniae was done by Quellung method and PCR capsular typing was used for H. influenzae. Macrolide resistance genes were detected by PCR for erythromycin resistant S. pneumoniae (ERSP). DNA sequencing of ftsI gene was performed for ampicillin nonsusceptible H. influenzae.
The most common serotypes found among children with pneumococcal AOM were 19 F (20.3%), 6B (15.6%), and 19A (10.9%). The potential coverage rates by the PCV7, PCV10 and PCV13 of children aged < 5 years were 63.6%, 66.4% and 85.5%, respectively. Reduced susceptibility to oral penicillin was seen in 68.1%; resistance to erythromycin was 46.9%. We found erm(B) gene in 56.7% of the ERSP, mef(E) gene in 25%; 15% harbored both genes erm(B) + mef(E) and 3.3% had mutations of L4 ribosomal protein. Of the 40 H. influenzae isolates 97.5% were nontypeable. Nonsusceptibility to ampicillin occurred in 25%. Ampicillin resistance groups were: β-lactamase-positive ampicillin resistant (BLPAR) strains (10%), β-lactamase-negative ampicillin resistant (BLNAR) strains (12.5%) and β-lactamase-positive amoxicillin-clavulanate resistant (BLPACR) strains (2.5%). Among BLNAR and BLPACR most of the isolates (5/6) belonged to group II, defined by the Asn526Lys substitution.
The levels of antibiotic resistance among S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae causing severe AOM in children are high in our settings. The existence of multidrug-resistant S. pneumoniae serotype 19A is of particular concern. The rate of BLNAR and BLPACR strains among H. influenzae isolates was 15%.
PMCID: PMC3622619  PMID: 23531034
AOM; S. pneumoniae; H. influenzae; Serotypes; Antibiotic resistance
10.  Trends in antibacterial resistance among Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated in the USA: update from PROTEKT US Years 1–4 
The increasing prevalence of resistance to established antibiotics among key bacterial respiratory tract pathogens, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, is a major healthcare problem in the USA. The PROTEKT US study is a longitudinal surveillance study designed to monitor the susceptibility of key respiratory tract pathogens in the USA to a range of commonly used antimicrobials. Here, we assess the geographic and temporal trends in antibacterial resistance of S. pneumoniae isolates from patients with community-acquired respiratory tract infections collected between Year 1 (2000–2001) and Year 4 (2003–2004) of PROTEKT US.
Antibacterial minimum inhibitory concentrations were determined centrally using the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) broth microdilution method; susceptibility was defined according to CLSI interpretive criteria. Macrolide resistance genotypes were determined by polymerase chain reaction.
A total of 39,495 S. pneumoniae isolates were collected during 2000–2004. The percentage of isolates resistant to erythromycin, penicillin, levofloxacin, and telithromycin were 29.3%, 21.2%, 0.9%, and 0.02%, respectively, over the 4 years, with marked regional variability. The proportion of isolates exhibiting multidrug resistance (includes isolates known as penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae and isolates resistant to ≥ 2 of the following antibiotics: penicillin; second-generation cephalosporins, e.g. cefuroxime; macrolides; tetracyclines; and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) remained stable at ~30% over the study period. Overall mef(A) was the most common macrolide resistance mechanism. The proportion of mef(A) isolates decreased from 68.8% to 62.3% between Year 1 and Year 4, while the percentage of isolates carrying both erm(B) and mef(A) increased from 9.7% to 18.4%. Over 99% of the erm(B)+mef(A)-positive isolates collected over Years 1–4 exhibited multidrug resistance. Higher than previously reported levels of macrolide resistance were found for mef(A)-positive isolates.
Over the first 4 years of PROTEKT US, penicillin and erythromycin resistance among pneumococcal isolates has remained high. Although macrolide resistance rates have stabilized, the prevalence of clonal isolates, with a combined erm(B) and mef(A) genotype together with high-level macrolide and multidrug resistance, is increasing, and their spread may have serious health implications. Telithromycin and levofloxacin both showed potent in vitro activity against S. pneumoniae isolates irrespective of macrolide resistance genotype.
PMCID: PMC2262084  PMID: 18190701
11.  High Incidence of Macrolide and Tetracycline Resistance among Streptococcus Agalactiae Strains Isolated from Clinical Samples in Tehran, Iran 
Mædica  2014;9(2):157-161.
Streptococcus agalactiae or Group B Streptococci (GBS) is an important bacterial pathogen that causes a wide range of infections including neonatal sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia and soft tissue or urinary tract infections.
Material and methods:
One hundred and fifteen isolates of Streptococcus agalactiae collected from urine specimens of patients attending a hospital in Tehran. All isolates were screened for their capsular types and genes encoding resistance to the macrolide and tetracycline antibiotics by PCR and multiplex PCR–based methods.
Most of isolates belonged to capsular types III (49%), V (19%), II (16%), and Ib (6%). Twelve isolates (10%) were nontypable. All isolates were susceptible to penicillin and Quinupristin-dalfopristin, but were resistant to clindamycin (35%), chloramphenicol (45%), erythromycin (35%), linezolid (1%) and tetracycline (96%). The most prevalent antimicrobial resistance gene was tetM found in 93% of the isolates followed by ermTR, ermB, and tetK, found in 23%, 16%, and 16% of isolates, respectively. The genes, tetL, tetO, ermA, ermC and mefA were not detected in any of the S. agalactiae isolates. Of the 110 tetracycline resistant S. agalactiae, 89 isolates harbored the tetM gene alone and eighteen isolates carried the tetM gene with the tetK gene. All erythromycin-resistant isolates exhibited cMLSB resistance phenotype, 22 isolates harbored the ermTR gene alone and five isolates carried the ermTR gene with the ermB gene. The rate of coexistence of genes encoding the erythromycin and tetracycline resistance determinants was 34%.
The present study demonstrated that S. agalactiae isolates obtained from urine samples showed a high rate of resistance to tetracycline, chloramphenicol and macrolide antibiotics and were commonly associated with the resistance genes temM, ermTR or ermB.
PMCID: PMC4296758  PMID: 25705271
Streptococcus agalactiae; capsular type; ermTR; tetM
12.  Serotypes, Clones, and Mechanisms of Resistance of Erythromycin-Resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolates Collected in Spain▿  
The aim of this study was to analyze the distributions of antibiotic susceptibility patterns, serotypes, phenotypes, genotypes, and macrolide resistance genes among 125 nonduplicated erythromycin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae clinical isolates collected in a Spanish point prevalence study. The prevalence of resistance to macrolides in this study was 34.7%. Multiresistance (to three or more antimicrobials) was observed in 81.6% of these strains. Among 15 antimicrobials studied, cefotaxime, moxifloxacin, telithromycin, and quinupristin-dalfopristin were the most active drugs. The most frequent serotypes of erythromycin-resistant isolates were 19F (25%), 19A (17%), 6B (12%), 14 (10%), and 23F (10%). Of the 125 strains, 109 (87.2%) showed the MLSB phenotype [103 had the erm(B) gene and 6 had both erm(B) and mef(E) genes]. Sixteen (12.8%) strains showed the M phenotype [14 with mef(E) and 2 with mef(A)]. All isolates were tested by PCR for the presence of the int, xis, tnpR, and tnpA genes associated with conjugative transposons (Tn916 family and Tn917). Positive detection of erm(B), tet(M), int, and xis genes related to the Tn916 family was found in 77.1% of MLSB phenotype strains. In 16 strains, only the tndX, erm(B), and tet(M) genes were detected, suggesting the presence of Tn1116, a transposon recently described for Streptococcus pyogenes. Five clones, namely, Sweden15A-25, clone19F ST87, Spain23F-1, Spain6B-2, and clone19A ST276, accounted for half of the MLSB strains. In conclusion, the majority of erythromycin-resistant pneumococci isolated in Spain had the MLSB phenotype, belonged to multiresistant international clones, and carried the erm(B), tet(M), xis, and int genes, suggesting the spread of transposons of the Tn916 family.
PMCID: PMC2043242  PMID: 17606677
13.  Comparison of In Vitro Activities of ABT-773 and Telithromycin against Macrolide-Susceptible and -Resistant Streptococci and Staphylococci 
The activity of a new ketolide, ABT-773, was compared to the activity of the ketolide telithromycin (HMR-3647) against over 600 gram-positive clinical isolates, including 356 Streptococcus pneumoniae, 167 Staphylococcus aureus, and 136 Streptococcus pyogenes isolates. Macrolide-susceptible isolates as well as macrolide-resistant isolates with ribosomal methylase (Erm), macrolide efflux (Mef), and ribosomal mutations were tested using the NCCLS reference broth microdilution method. Both compounds were extremely active against macrolide-susceptible isolates, with the minimum inhibitory concentrations at which 90% of the isolates tested were inhibited (MIC90s) for susceptible streptococci and staphylococci ranging from 0.002 to 0.03 μg/ml for ABT-773 and 0.008 to 0.06 μg/ml for telithromycin. ABT-773 had increased activities against macrolide-resistant S. pneumoniae (Erm MIC90, 0.015 μg/ml; Mef MIC90, 0.12 μg/ml) compared to those of telithromycin (Erm MIC90, 0.12 μg/ml; Mef MIC90, 1 μg/ml). Both compounds were active against strains with rRNA or ribosomal protein mutations (MIC90, 0.12 μg/ml). ABT-773 was also more active against macrolide-resistant S. pyogenes (ABT-773 Erm MIC90, 0.5 μg/ml; ABT-773 Mef MIC90, 0.12 μg/ml; telithromycin Erm MIC90, >8 μg/ml; telithromycin Mef MIC90, 1.0 μg/ml). Both compounds lacked activity against constitutive macrolide-resistant Staphylococcus aureus but had good activities against inducibly resistant Staphylococcus aureus (ABT-773 MIC90, 0.06 μg/ml; telithromycin MIC90, 0.5 μg/ml). ABT-773 has superior activity against macrolide-resistant streptococci compared to that of telithromycin.
PMCID: PMC127460  PMID: 11850262
14.  Phenotypes and Genotypes of Erythromycin-Resistant Streptococcus pyogenes Strains in Italy and Heterogeneity of Inducibly Resistant Strains 
A total of 387 clinical strains of erythromycin-resistant (MIC, ≥1 μg/ml) Streptococcus pyogenes, all isolated in Italian laboratories from 1995 to 1998, were examined. By the erythromycin-clindamycin double-disk test, 203 (52.5%) strains were assigned to the recently described M phenotype, 120 (31.0%) were assigned to the inducible macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B resistance (iMLS) phenotype, and 64 (16.5%) were assigned to the constitutive MLS resistance (cMLS) phenotype. The inducible character of the resistance of the iMLS strains was confirmed by comparing the clindamycin MICs determined under normal testing conditions and those determined after induction by pregrowth in 0.05 μg of erythromycin per ml. The MICs of erythromycin, clarithromycin, azithromycin, josamycin, spiramycin, and the ketolide HMR3004 were then determined and compared. Homogeneous susceptibility patterns were observed for the isolates of the cMLS phenotype (for all but one of the strains, HMR3004 MICs were 0.5 to 8 μg/ml and the MICs of the other drugs were >128 μg/ml) and those of the M phenotype (resistance only to the 14- and 15-membered macrolides was recorded, with MICs of 2 to 32 μg/ml). Conversely, heterogeneous susceptibility patterns were observed in the isolates of the iMLS phenotype, which were subdivided into three distinct subtypes designated iMLS-A, iMLS-B, and iMLS-C. The iMLS-A strains (n = 84) were highly resistant to the 14-, 15-, and 16-membered macrolides and demonstrated reduced susceptibility to low-level resistance to HMR3004. The iMLS-B strains (n = 12) were highly resistant to the 14- and 15-membered macrolides, susceptible to the 16-membered macrolides (but highly resistant to josamycin after induction), and susceptible to HMR3004 (but intermediate or resistant after induction). The iMLS-C strains (n = 24) had lower levels of resistance to the 14- and 15-membered macrolides (with erythromycin MICs increasing two to four times after induction), were susceptible to the 16-membered macrolides (but resistant to josamycin after induction), and remained susceptible to HMR3004, also after induction. The erythromycin resistance genes in 100 isolates of the different groups were investigated by PCR. All cMLS and iMLS-A isolates tested had the ermAM (ermB) gene, whereas all iMLS-B and iMLS-C isolates had the ermTR gene (neither methylase gene was found in isolates of other groups). The M isolates had only the macrolide efflux (mefA) gene, which was also found in variable proportions of cMLS, iMLS-A, iMLS-B, and iMLS-C isolates. The three iMLS subtypes were easily differentiated by a triple-disk test set up by adding a josamycin disk to the erythromycin and clindamycin disks of the conventional double-disk test. Tetracycline resistance was not detected in any isolate of the iMLS-A subtype, whereas it was observed in over 90% of both iMLS-B and iMLS-C isolates.
PMCID: PMC89394  PMID: 10428916
15.  Genotypes and Related Factors Reflecting Macrolide Resistance in Pneumococcal Pneumonia Infections in Japan▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(5):1440-1446.
Although macrolide-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae strains possessing either the ermB or mefA gene are very common in Japan, clinical and microbial factors in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) caused by different macrolide resistance genotypes have not been evaluated. A multicenter study of CAP caused by S. pneumoniae was performed in Japan from 2003 to 2005. A total of 156 isolates were tested for susceptibility to antibiotics correlated with ermB and mefA genotyping. Independent relationships between tested variables and possession of either the ermB or the mefA gene were identified. Of 156 isolates, 127 (81.4%) were resistant to erythromycin, with the following distribution of resistance genotypes: ermB alone (50.0%), mefA alone (23.7%), and both ermB and mefA (7.1%). All isolates were susceptible to telithromycin. By multivariate analysis, oxygen saturation of <90% on admission increased the risk for ermB-positive pneumococcal pneumonia (odds ratio [OR] = 11.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.30 to 95.0; P = 0.03), but there were no associations with mefA or with ermB mefA positivity. Penicillin nonsusceptibility was associated with mefA-positive and with ermB- and mefA-positive isolates (OR = 14.2; 95% CI = 4.27 to 46.9; P < 0.0001 and P < 0.0001, respectively) but not with ermB-positive isolates. The overall patient mortality was 5.1%. Mortality, the duration of hospitalization, and the resolution of several clinical markers were not associated with the different erythromycin resistance genotypes. In Japan, S. pneumoniae with erythromycin resistance or possession of ermB, mefA, or both genes was highly prevalent in patients with CAP. The risk factors for ermB-positive, mefA-positive, and double ermB-mefA-positive pneumococcal pneumonia were different, but the clinical outcomes did not differ.
PMCID: PMC1865875  PMID: 17344362
16.  Expression of the mef(E) Gene Encoding the Macrolide Efflux Pump Protein Increases in Streptococcus pneumoniae with Increasing Resistance to Macrolides 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2005;49(11):4635-4640.
Active macrolide efflux is a major mechanism of macrolide resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae in many parts of the world, especially North America. In Canada, this active macrolide efflux in S. pneumoniae is predominantly due to acquisition of the mef(E) gene. In the present study, we assessed the mef(E) gene sequence as well as mef(E) expression in variety of low- and high-level macrolide-resistant, clindamycin-susceptible (M-phenotype) S. pneumoniae isolates (erythromycin MICs, 1 to 32 μg/ml; clindamycin MICs, ≤0.25 μg/ml). Southern blot hybridization with mef(E) probe and EcoRI digestion and relative real-time reverse transcription-PCR were performed to study the mef(E) gene copy number and expression. Induction of mef(E) expression was analyzed by Etest susceptibility testing pre- and postincubation with subinhibitory concentrations of erythromycin, clarithromycin, azithromycin, telithromycin, and clindamycin. The macrolide efflux gene, mef(E), was shown to be a single-copy gene in all 23 clinical S. pneumoniae isolates tested, and expression post-macrolide induction increased 4-, 6-, 20-, and 200-fold in isolates with increasing macrolide resistance (erythromycin MICs 2, 4, 8, and 32 μg/ml, respectively). Sequencing analysis of the macrolide efflux genetic assembly (mega) revealed that mef(E) had a 16-bp deletion 153 bp upstream of the putative start codon in all 23 isolates. A 119-bp intergenic region between mef(E) and mel was sequenced, and a 99-bp deletion was found in 11 of the 23 M-phenotype S. pneumoniae isolates compared to the published mega sequence. However, the mef(E) gene was fully conserved among both high- and low-level macrolide-resistant isolates. In conclusion, increased expression of mef(E) is associated with higher levels of macrolide resistance in macrolide-resistant S. pneumoniae.
PMCID: PMC1280166  PMID: 16251306
17.  In Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Modithromycin, a Novel 6,11-Bridged Bicyclolide, against Respiratory Pathogens, Including Macrolide-Resistant Gram-Positive Cocci▿  
The in vitro activities of modithromycin against Gram-positive and -negative respiratory pathogens, including macrolide-resistant cocci with different resistance mechanisms, were compared with those of other macrolide and ketolide agents. MICs were determined by the broth microdilution method. All 595 test strains used in this study were isolated from Japanese medical facilities. The erm (ribosome methylase) and/or mef (efflux pump) gene, which correlated with resistance to erythromycin as well as clarithromycin and azithromycin, was found in 81.8%, 21.3%, and 23.2% of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) strains, respectively. Modithromycin showed MIC90s of 0.125 μg/ml against these three cocci, including macrolide-resistant strains. In particular, the MIC of modithromycin against ermB-carrying S. pyogenes was ≥32-fold lower than that of telithromycin. The activities of modithromycin as well as telithromycin were little affected by the presence of mefA or mefE in both streptococci. Against Gram-negative pathogens, modithromycin showed MIC90s of 0.5, 8, and 0.031 μg/ml against Moraxella catarrhalis, Haemophilus influenzae, and Legionella spp., respectively. The MICs of modithromycin against M. catarrhalis and H. influenzae were higher than those of telithromycin and azithromycin. However, modithromycin showed the most potent anti-Legionella activity among the macrolide and ketolide agents tested. These results suggested that the bicyclolide agent modithromycin is a novel class of macrolides with improved antibacterial activity against Gram-positive cocci, including telithromycin-resistant streptococci and intracellular Gram-negative bacteria of the Legionella species.
PMCID: PMC3067159  PMID: 21220534
18.  Molecular characteristics of erythromycin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae from pediatric patients younger than five years in Beijing, 2010 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:228.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is the main pathogen that causes respiratory infections in children younger than five years. The increasing incidence of macrolide- and tetracycline-resistant pneumococci among children has been a serious problem in China for many years. The molecular characteristics of erythromycin-resistant pneumococcal isolates that were collected from pediatric patients younger than five years in Beijing in 2010 were analyzed in this study.
A total of 140 pneumococcal isolates were collected. The resistance rates of all isolates to erythromycin and tetracycline were 96.4% and 79.3%, respectively. Of the 135 erythromycin-resistant pneumococci, 91.1% were non-susceptible to tetracycline. In addition, 30.4% of the erythromycin-resistant isolates expressed both the ermB and mef genes, whereas 69.6% expressed the ermB gene but not the mef gene. Up to 98.5% of the resistant isolates exhibited the cMLSB phenotype, and Tn6002 was the most common transposon present in approximately 56.3% of the resistant isolates, followed by Tn2010, with a proportion of 28.9%. The dominant sequence types (STs) in all erythromycin-resistant S. pneumoniae were ST271 (11.9%), ST81 (8.9%), ST876 (8.9%), and ST320 (6.7%), whereas the prevailing serotypes were 19F (19.3%), 23F (9.6%), 14 (9.6%), 15 (8.9%), and 6A (7.4%). The 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) coverage of the erythromycin-resistant pneumococci among the children younger than five years were 45.2% and 62.2%, respectively. ST320 and serotype 19A pneumococci were common in children aged 0 to 2 years. CC271 was the most frequent clonal complex (CC), which accounts for 24.4% of all erythromycin-resistant isolates.
The non-invasive S. pneumoniae in children younger than five years in Beijing presented high and significant resistance rates to erythromycin and tetracycline. The expressions of ermB and tetM genes were the main factors that influence pneumococcal resistance to erythromycin and tetracycline, respectively. Majority of the erythromycin-resistant non-invasive isolates exhibited the cMLSB phenotype and carried the ermB, tetM, xis, and int genes, suggesting the spread of the transposons of the Tn916 family. PCV13 provided higher serotype coverage in the childhood pneumococcal diseases caused by the erythromycin-resistant isolates better than PCV7. Further long-term surveys are required to monitor the molecular characteristics of the erythromycin-resistant S. pneumoniae in children.
PMCID: PMC3534231  PMID: 23043378
19.  Composite mobile genetic elements disseminating macrolide resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae 
Macrolide resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae emerged in the U.S. and globally during the early 1990's. The RNA methylase encoded by erm(B) and the macrolide efflux genes mef(E) and mel were identified as the resistance determining factors. These genes are disseminated in the pneumococcus on mobile, often chimeric elements consisting of multiple smaller elements. To better understand the variety of elements encoding macrolide resistance and how they have evolved in the pre- and post-conjugate vaccine eras, the genomes of 121 invasive and ten carriage isolates from Atlanta from 1994 to 2011 were analyzed for mobile elements involved in the dissemination of macrolide resistance. The isolates were selected to provide broad coverage of the genetic variability of antibiotic resistant pneumococci and included 100 invasive isolates resistant to macrolides. Tn916-like elements carrying mef(E) and mel on the Macrolide Genetic Assembly (Mega) and erm(B) on the erm(B) element and Tn917 were integrated into the pneumococcal chromosome backbone and into larger Tn5253-like composite elements. The results reported here include identification of novel insertion sites for Mega and characterization of the insertion sites of Tn916-like elements in the pneumococcal chromosome and in larger composite elements. The data indicate that integration of elements by conjugation was infrequent compared to recombination. Thus, it appears that conjugative mobile elements allow the pneumococcus to acquire DNA from distantly related bacteria, but once integrated into a pneumococcal genome, transformation and recombination is the primary mechanism for transmission of novel DNA throughout the pneumococcal population.
PMCID: PMC4321634  PMID: 25709602
mobile genetic elements; transposons; integrative and conjugative elements; macrolides; antibiotic resistance; Streptococcus pneumoniae
20.  In Vitro Activity of the New Ketolide Telithromycin Compared with Those of Macrolides against Streptococcus pyogenes: Influences of Resistance Mechanisms and Methodological Factors 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2000;44(11):2999-3002.
One hundred and seven clinical isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes, 80 susceptible to macrolides and 27 resistant to erythromycin A (MIC >0.5 μg/ml), were examined. The erythromycin A-lincomycin double-disk test assigned 7 resistant strains to the M-phenotype, 8 to the inducible macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B resistance (iMLSB) phenotype, and 12 to the constitutive MLSB resistance (cMLSB) phenotype. MICs of erythromycin A, clarithromycin, azithromycin, roxithromycin, and clindamycin were determined by a broth microdilution method. MICs of telithromycin were determined by three different methods (broth microdilution, agar dilution, and E-test methods) in an ambient air atmosphere and in a 5 to 6% CO2 atmosphere. Erythromycin A resistance genes were investigated by PCR in the 27 erythromycin A-resistant isolates. MICs of erythromycin A and clindamycin showed six groups of resistant strains, groups A to F. iMLSB strains (A, B, and D groups) are characterized by two distinct patterns of resistance correlated with genotypic results. A- and B-group strains were moderately resistant to 14- and 15-membered ring macrolides and highly susceptible to telithromycin. All A- and B-group isolates harbored erm TR gene, D-group strains, highly resistant to macrolides and intermediately resistant to telithromycin (MICs, 1 to 16 μg/ml), were all characterized by having the ermB gene. All M-phenotype isolates (C group), resistant to 14- and 15-membered ring macrolides and susceptible to clindamycin and telithromycin, harbored the mefA gene. All cMLSB strains (E and F groups) with high level of resistance to macrolides, lincosamide, and telithromycin had the ermB gene. The effect of 5 to 6% CO2 was remarkable on resistant strains, by increasing MICs of telithromycin from 1 to 6 twofold dilutions against D-E- and F-group isolates.
PMCID: PMC101592  PMID: 11036012
21.  Correlation of Serotypes and Genotypes of Macrolide-Resistant Streptococcus agalactiae 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2005;46(4):480-483.
Despite the necessity for studies of group B streptococci (GBS), due to the increase in serious adult infections, the emergence of new serotypes, and the increased resistance to macrolide antibiotics, such studies have been limited in Korea. The primary purpose of the present study was to determine the frequency trends of GBS serotypes, including serotypes VI, VII, and VIII. The final objective was to elucidate the relationship between the genotypes and serotypes of macrolide-resistant GBS isolates from a Korean population. Among 446 isolates of Streptococcus agalactiae, isolated between January 1990 and December 2002 in Korea, the frequency of serotypes were III (36.5%), Ib (22.0%), V (21.1%), Ia (9.6%), VI (4.3%), II (1.8%), VIII (1.3%), IV (1.1%), and VII (0.9%). The resistance rates to erythromycin, by serotype, were 85% (V), 23% (III), 21% (VI), 3% (Ib), and 2% (Ia). Of 135 erythromycin-resistant S. agalactiae, ermB was detected in 105 isolates, mefA in 20 isolates, and ermTR in seven isolates; most type V isolates harbored the ermB gene, Ib type isolates had an equal distribution of resistance genes, type III isolates accounted for 70% of all isolates carrying mefA genes, and one fourth of type VI isolates had mefA genes.
PMCID: PMC2815831  PMID: 16127771
Group B streptococci; Streptococcus agalactiae; serotyping; erythromycin; macrolides; antibiotic resistance; genotype
22.  Dynamics of serotype 14 Streptococcus pneumoniae population causing acute respiratory infections among children in China (1997–2012) 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:266.
In the last decade, the Streptococcus pneumoniae population has changed, mainly due to the abuse of antibiotics. The aim of this study was to determine the genetic structure of 144 S. pneumonia serotype 14 isolates collected from children with acute respiratory infections during 1997–2012 in China.
All isolated pneumococci were tested for their sensitivity to 11 kinds of antibiotics with the E-test method or disc diffusion. The macrolides resistance genes ermB and mefA, as well as the sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim resistance gene dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) were detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The sequence types (STs) were analyzed with multilocus sequence typing (MLST).
From 1997 to 2012, the percentage of serotype 14 S. pneumonia isolates in the whole isolates increased. All of the 144 serotype 14 S. pneumonia isolates were susceptible to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, vancomycin and levofloxacin. No penicillin resistant isolate was found, and the intermediate rate was as low as 0.7 %. Erythromycin resistance was confirmed among 143 isolates. The ermB gene was determined in all erythromycin resistant isolates, and the mefA gene was positive additionally in 13 of them. The non-susceptibility rate to the tested cephalosporins increased from 1997–2012. All trimethoprim-resistant isolates contained the Ile100-Leu mutation. Overall, 30 STs were identified, among which ST876 was the most prevalent, followed by ST875. During the study period, the percentage of CC876 increased from 0 % in 1997–2000 to 96.4 % in 2010–2012, whereas CC875 decreased from 84.2 to 0 %. CC876 showed higher non-susceptibility rates to β-lactam antibiotics than CC875.
The percentage of serotype 14 S. pneumonia isolates increased over time in China. The increase of resistance to β-lactam antibiotics in this serotype isolates was associated with the spread of CC876.
PMCID: PMC4499228  PMID: 26163293
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Serotypes; Antibiotic resistance; Children; Epidemiology
23.  Erythromycin Resistance Genes in Group A Streptococci in Finland 
Streptococcus pyogenes isolates (group A streptococcus) of different erythromycin resistance phenotypes were collected from all over Finland in 1994 and 1995 and studied; they were evaluated for their susceptibilities to 14 antimicrobial agents (396 isolates) and the presence of different erythromycin resistance genes (45 isolates). The erythromycin-resistant isolates with the macrolide-resistant but lincosamide- and streptogramin B-susceptible phenotype (M phenotype) were further studied for their plasmid contents and the transferability of resistance genes. Resistance to antimicrobial agents other than macrolides, clindamycin, tetracycline, and chloramphenicol was not found. When compared to our previous study performed in 1990, the rate of resistance to tetracycline increased from 10 to 93% among isolates with the inducible resistance (IR) phenotype of macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B (MLSB) resistance. Tetracycline resistance was also found among 75% of the MLSB-resistant isolates with the constitutive resistance (CR) phenotype. Resistance to chloramphenicol was found for the first time in S. pyogenes in Finland; 3% of the isolates with the IR phenotype were resistant. All the chloramphenicol-resistant isolates were also resistant to tetracycline. Detection of erythromycin resistance genes by PCR indicated that, with the exception of one isolate with the CR phenotype, all M-phenotype isolates had the macrolide efflux (mefA) gene and all the MLSB-resistant isolates had the erythromycin resistance methylase (ermTR) gene; the isolate with the CR phenotype contained the ermB gene. No plasmid DNA could be isolated from the M-phenotype isolates, but the mefA gene was transferred by conjugation.
PMCID: PMC89019  PMID: 9869564
24.  Antimicrobial susceptibility and analysis of macrolide resistance genes in Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated in Hamadan 
Macrolide resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae pose an emerging problem globally. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of ermB and mefA genes (macrolide resistant genes) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method and to detect drug resistance patterns of S. pneumoniae isolated from clinical samples to macrolides and other antibiotic agents by E-test method.
Materials and Methods:
Fifty five isolates of S. pneumoniae were obtained from clinical samples with microbial tests. The antibiotic susceptibility of isolates for erythromycin, azithromycin, clarithromycin, ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin and vancomycin were determined by E-test method. Genotypic antibiotic resistance pattern was determined by PCR with primer designed for ermB and mefA genes.
The number of S. pneumoniae isolates resistance to erythromycin, azithromycin, clarithromycin, ceftazidim, ciprofloxacin were 25.5%, 18.2%, 16.4%, 21.8% and 10.9%, respectively while no resistance to vancomycin was observed. The macrolide resistance genes of ermB and mefA were found in 10.9% and 18.2% of the isolates, respectively.
The result of the current study suggests the necessity of evaluation the changes in MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) values as well as genetic mutations to estimate the prevalence of the resistance antimicrobial agents in S. pneumoniae.
PMCID: PMC4240794  PMID: 25422753
Antibiotic resistance; Autolysin gene; Macrolide; PCR; Streptococcus pneumoniae
25.  A Novel Efflux System in Inducibly Erythromycin-Resistant Strains of Streptococcus pyogenes 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2002;46(12):3750-3755.
Streptococcus pyogenes strains inducibly resistant (iMLS phenotype) to macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B (MLS) antibiotics can be subdivided into three phenotypes: iMLS-A, iMLS-B, and iMLS-C. This study focused on inducibly erythromycin-resistant S. pyogenes strains of the iMLS-B and iMLS-C types, which are very similar and virtually indistinguishable in a number of phenotypic and genotypic features but differ clearly in their degree of resistance to MLS antibiotics (high in the iMLS-B type and low in the iMLS-C type). As expected, the iMLS-B and iMLS-C test strains had the erm(A) methylase gene; the iMLS-A and the constitutively resistant (cMLS) isolates had the erm(B) methylase gene; and a control M isolate had the mef(A) efflux gene. mre(A) and msr(A), i.e., other macrolide efflux genes described in gram-positive cocci, were not detected in any test strain. With a radiolabeled erythromycin method for determination of the intracellular accumulation of the drug in the absence or presence of an efflux pump inhibitor, active efflux of erythromycin was observed in the iMLS-B isolates as well as in the M isolate, whereas no efflux was demonstrated in the iMLS-C isolates. By the triple-disk (erythromycin plus clindamycin and josamycin) test, performed both in normal test medium and in the same medium supplemented with the efflux pump inhibitor, under the latter conditions iMLS-B and iMLS-C strains were no longer distinguishable, all exhibiting an iMLS-C phenotype. In conjugation experiments with an iMLS-B isolate as the donor and a Rifr Fusr derivative of an iMLS-C isolate as the recipient, transconjugants which shared the iMLS-B type of the donor under all respects, including the presence of an efflux pump, were obtained. These results indicate the existence of a novel, transferable efflux system, not associated with mef(A) or with other known macrolide efflux genes, that is peculiar to iMLS-B strains. Whereas the low-level resistance of iMLS-C strains to MLS antibiotics is apparently due to erm(A)-encoded methylase activity, the high-level resistance of iMLS-B strains appears to depend on the same methylase activity plus the new efflux system.
PMCID: PMC132784  PMID: 12435672

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