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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1989 Jun;33(6):886-94.

Cloning and characterization of a DNA gyrase A gene from Escherichia coli that confers clinical resistance to 4-quinolones.

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Department of Biochemistry, St. George's Hospital Medical School, University of London, United Kingdom.


Nalidixic acid, enoxacin, and other antibacterial 4-quinolones inhibit DNA gyrase activity by interrupting DNA breakage and reunion by A subunits of the A2B2 gyrase complex. Despite their clinical importance, the mode of quinolone action and mechanisms of resistance are poorly understood at the molecular level. Using a DNA fragment enrichment procedure, we isolated the gyrA gene from a uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain that encodes a gyrase A protein cross-resistant to a variety of quinolones. When complemented with gyrase B subunit, the purified A protein reconstituted DNA supercoiling activity approximately 100-fold more resistant to inhibition by enoxacin than the susceptible enzyme and failed to mediate quinolone-dependent DNA cleavage. Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed that the gene differed at 58 nucleotide positions compared with the K-12 gyrA sequence. The 875-amino-acid residue-resistant gyrase A protein differed at three positions from its wild-type E. coli K-12 counterpart: tryptophan, glutamate, and serine replaced serine, aspartate, and alanine residues at positions 83, 678, and 828, respectively. By genetic analysis of chimeric gyrA genes in a gyrA(Ts) background, we showed that the Ser-83----Trp mutation in the gyrase A protein was solely responsible for high-level bacterial resistance to nalidixic acid and fluoroquinolones.

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