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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Apr;57(4):1857-65. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02191-12. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Aminoglycoside cross-resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis due to mutations in the 5' untranslated region of whiB7.

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  • 1Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Graduate Program, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Abstract

Since the discovery of streptomycin's bactericidal activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, aminoglycosides have been utilized to treat tuberculosis (TB). Today, the aminoglycosides kanamycin and amikacin are used to treat multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB, and resistance to any of the second-line injectable antibiotics, including kanamycin, amikacin, or capreomycin, is a defining characteristic of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB. Resistance to kanamycin and streptomycin is thought to be due to the acquisition of unlinked chromosomal mutations. However, we identified eight independent mutations in the 5' untranslated region of the transcriptional activator whiB7 that confer low-level resistance to both aminoglycosides. The mutations lead to 23- to 145-fold increases in whiB7 transcripts and subsequent increased expression of both eis (Rv2416c) and tap (Rv1258c). Increased expression of eis confers kanamycin resistance in these mutants, while increased expression of tap, which encodes an efflux pump, is a previously uncharacterized mechanism of low-level streptomycin resistance. Additionally, high-level resistance to streptomycin arose at a much higher frequency in whiB7 mutants than in a wild-type (WT) strain. Although whiB7 is typically associated with intrinsic antibiotic resistance in M. tuberculosis, these data suggest that mutations in an uncharacterized regulatory region of whiB7 contribute to cross-resistance against clinically used second-line antibiotics. As drug resistance continues to develop and spread, understanding the mechanisms and molecular basis of antibiotic resistance is critical for the development of rapid molecular tests to diagnose drug-resistant TB strains and ultimately for designing regimens to treat drug-resistant cases of TB.

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PMID:
23380727
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3623337
Free PMC Article
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