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Microbiology. 2001 Sep;147(Pt 9):2561-9.

The penicillin resistance of Enterococcus faecalis JH2-2r results from an overproduction of the low-affinity penicillin-binding protein PBP4 and does not involve a psr-like gene.

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Centre d'Ingénierie des Protéines, Institut de Chimie, B6, Université de Liège, (Sart Tilman), B-4000 Liège, Belgium.


A penicillin-resistant mutant, JH2-2r (MIC 75 microg ml(-1)), was isolated from Enterococcus faecalis JH2-2 (MIC 5 microg ml(-1)) by successive passages on plates containing increasing concentrations of benzylpenicillin. A comparison of the penicillin-binding protein (PBP) profiles in the two strains revealed a more intensely labelled PBP4 in JH2-2r. Because the sequences of the JH2-2 and JH2-2r pbp4 genes were strictly identical, even in their promoter regions, this intensive labelling could only be associated with an overproduction of the low-affinity PBP4. No psr gene analogous to that proposed to act as a regulator of PBP5 synthesis in Enterococcus hirae and Enterococcus faecium could be identified in the vicinity of pbp4 in E. faecalis JH2-2 and JH2-2r. However, a psr-like gene distant from pbp4 was identified. The cloning and sequencing of that psr-like gene from both E. faecalis strains indicated that they were identical. It is therefore postulated that the PBP4 overproduction in E. faecalis JH2-2r results from the modification of an as yet unidentified factor.

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