Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Antimicrob Chemother. 2005 Feb;55(2):170-7. Epub 2004 Dec 8.

Molecular basis of intrinsic macrolide resistance in clinical isolates of Mycobacterium fortuitum.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Southern California, and Saban Research Institute of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA. kanash@usc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Some clinical isolates of Mycobacterium fortuitum are naturally resistant to macrolides, e.g. clarithromycin. Thus, the aim of this study was to identify the gene(s) conferring this resistance.

METHODS:

M. fortuitum ATCC 6841T DNA libraries were screened for plasmids that complemented the macrolide-susceptible phenotype of Mycobacterium smegmatis variant ermKO4 [erm(38)-negative]. Macrolide-resistant M. smegmatis transformants were selected on agar containing 128 mg/L erythromycin.

RESULTS:

Genetic complementation identified an M. fortuitum rRNA methylase gene, termed erm(39), 69% identical to erm(38) of M. smegmatis. In addition, erm(39) was found to be in the same chromosomal location as erm(38) in their respective hosts. Like erm(38), erm(39) conferred resistance (MIC >128 mg/L) to macrolide-lincosamide (ML) agents, but not to streptogramin B. Analysis of erm gene expression in M. fortuitum showed that ML agents increased erm(39) RNA levels, reaching a steady state level approximately 20-fold higher than baseline. Screening of 32 M. fortuitum clinical isolates by PCR showed that all were positive for erm(39), irrespective of clarithromycin susceptibility. A majority of clarithromycin-susceptible (MIC < or = 2 mg/L) isolates were postulated to carry a disabled erm(39) gene as they had a GTG-->CTG mutation in the putative initiation codon of the erm(39) gene.

CONCLUSIONS:

The similarity of the erm genes of M. smegmatis and M. fortuitum suggests that they were inherited from a common ancestor. Although the clinical impact of erm(39) on the therapeutic utility of clarithromycin is unclear, induction of this gene is consistent with the trailing end-points commonly seen during susceptibility testing of M. fortuitum isolates against macrolides.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk