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Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2012 Mar 1;2:21. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2012.00021. eCollection 2012.

A fluoroquinolone resistance associated mutation in gyrA Affects DNA supercoiling in Campylobacter jejuni.

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Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine, Iowa State University Ames, IA, USA.


The prevalence of fluoroquinolone (FQ)-resistant Campylobacter has become a concern for public health. To facilitate the control of FQ-resistant (FQ(R)) Campylobacter, it is necessary to understand the impact of FQ(R) on the fitness of Campylobacter in its natural hosts as understanding fitness will help to determine and predict the persistence of FQ(R)Campylobacter. Previously it was shown that acquisition of resistance to FQ antimicrobials enhanced the in vivo fitness of FQ(R)Campylobacter. In this study, we confirmed the role of the Thr-86-Ile mutation in GyrA in modulating Campylobacter fitness by reverting the mutation to the wild-type (WT) allele, which resulted in the loss of the fitness advantage. Additionally, we determined if the resistance-conferring GyrA mutations alter the enzymatic function of the DNA gyrase. Recombinant WT gyrase and mutant gyrases with three different types of mutations (Thr-86-Ile, Thr-86-Lys, and Asp-90-Asn), which are associated with FQ(R) in Campylobacter, were generated in E. coli and compared for their supercoiling activities using an in vitro assay. The mutant gyrase with the Thr-86-Ile change showed a greatly reduced supercoiling activity compared with the WT gyrase, while other mutant gyrases did not show an altered supercoiling. Furthermore, we measured DNA supercoiling within Campylobacter cells using a reporter plasmid. Consistent with the results from the in vitro supercoiling assay, the FQ(R) mutant carrying the Thr-86-Ile change in GyrA showed much less DNA supercoiling than the WT strain and the mutant strains carrying other mutations. Together, these results indicate that the Thr-86-Ile mutation, which is predominant in clinical FQ(R)Campylobacter, modulates DNA supercoiling homeostasis in FQ(R)Campylobacter.


Campylobacter; DNA supercoiling; GyrA mutation; fitness; fluoroquinolone resistance

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