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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2010 Aug;65(8):1615-8. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkq187. Epub 2010 May 28.

Reduced susceptibility to ceftriaxone in Neisseria gonorrhoeae is associated with mutations G542S, P551S and P551L in the gonococcal penicillin-binding protein 2.

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Queensland Paediatric Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Queensland Children's Medical Research Institute, Children's Health Service District, Queensland, Australia.



Reduced susceptibility to extended-spectrum cephalosporins in Neisseria gonorrhoeae has, to date, been associated with three alterations: a mosaic penA allele encoding the penicillin-binding protein 2 (PBP2); A-del-mtrR, an adenine deletion in the mtrR promoter; and penB, comprising mutated alleles of PorBIb. In this study, we examined an association between reduced susceptibility to ceftriaxone and additional mutations in gonococcal PBP2.


N. gonorrhoeae isolates (n = 76) exhibiting reduced susceptibility to ceftriaxone but lacking the mosaic penA sequence were investigated for A-del-mtrR and penB as well as substitutions at PBP2 501, 542 and 551 using a previously described real-time PCR approach. To further investigate PBP2 542 and 551 substitutions, we reanalysed penA sequence data from a previous study of 98 gonococci exhibiting a range of ceftriaxone MICs.


Of 76 N. gonorrhoeae isolates exhibiting reduced susceptibility to ceftriaxone and lacking the mosaic penA sequence, a 501 (A501V or A501T) substitution was present in 9/76, a 542 substitution in 39/76 and a 551 substitution in 26/76 isolates. Reanalysis of 98 gonococcal isolates from a previous study showed that substitutions at PBP2 542 (G542S) and 551 (P551S or P551L) were significantly associated with raised MICs to ceftriaxone (P = 0.0186 and 0.001, respectively) and penicillin (P = 0.0231 and 0.0007, respectively).


Our findings provide strong evidence for the involvement of PBP2 G542S and P551S/P551L in reduced susceptibility to ceftriaxone and to penicillin. Further studies are needed to investigate the precise and relative roles played by these mutations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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