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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1989 Nov;33(11):1946-51.

ampG is essential for high-level expression of AmpC beta-lactamase in Enterobacter cloacae.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska 68178.


Mutants of Enterobacter cloacae 55 were studied to delineate more completely the genetics of inducible expression of AmpC beta-lactamase. E. cloacae 55M-L, derived by mutagenesis from a mutant with high-level cefotaxime resistance (MIC, greater than 64 micrograms/ml), E. cloacae 55M, demonstrated a novel phenotype by producing only low levels of AmpC constitutively. Neither the parental phenotype of E. cloacae 55M nor the wild-type phenotype of E. cloacae 55 could be restored in E. cloacae 55M-L by the introduction of functional ampR, ampC, or ampD genes. Cloning each of these genes from E. cloacae 55M-L confirmed the same genotype for this mutant as for its parental strain. Mutation of E. cloacae 55M-L to the E. cloacae 55M phenotype was found to occur spontaneously at a frequency of 10(-8). All such revertants demonstrated an inducible wild-type phenotype after introduction of a functional ampD. These results suggested that the E. cloacae 55M-L phenotype was due to a mutation in an as yet unrecognized gene, designated ampG. Verification of this gene was obtained by the restoration of the E. cloacae 55M phenotype in E. cloacae 55M-L by introduction of a cloned 2.9-kilobase BamHI fragment from the E. cloacae 55 chromosome. Transformation of both ampG and ampD into E. cloacae 55M-L reconstituted the inducible wild-type phenotype. These results indicate that ampG is required for the activation of ampC by AmpR. Without ampG, neither induction nor high-level expression of AmpC is possible. It is likely that the ampG gene product and AmpD together modulate the ability of AmpR to activate ampC expression.

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