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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2003 Dec;47(12):3877-80.

Acquired macrolide resistance genes in pathogenic Neisseria spp. isolated between 1940 and 1987.

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  • 1Department of Pathobiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Seventy-six Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates, isolated between 1940 and 1987, and seven Neisseria meningitidis isolates, isolated between 1963 and 1987, were screened for the presence of acquired mef(A), erm(B), erm(C), and erm(F) genes by using DNA-DNA hybridization, PCR analysis, and sequencing. The mef(A), erm(B), and erm(F) genes were all identified in a 1955 N. gonorrhoeae isolate, while the erm(C) gene was identified in a 1963 N. gonorrhoeae isolate. Similarly, both the mef(A) and erm(F) genes were identified in a 1963 N. meningitidis isolate. All four acquired genes were found in later isolates of both species. The mef(A) gene from a 1975 N. gonorrhoeae isolate was sequenced and had 100% DNA and amino acid identity with the mef(A) gene from a 1990s Streptococcus pneumoniae isolate. Selected early isolates were able to transfer their acquired genes to an Enterococcus faecalis recipient, suggesting that these genes are associated with conjugative transposons. These isolates are the oldest of any species to carry the mef(A) gene and among the oldest to carry these erm genes.

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