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EMBO J. 1988 Jan;7(1):277-82.

Resistance to macrolides, lincosamides and streptogramin type B antibiotics due to a mutation in an rRNA operon of Streptomyces ambofaciens.

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Laboratoire de Biologie et Génétique Moléculaire, U.A.C.N.R.S. 040086, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France.


Streptomyces ambofaciens produces spiramycin, a macrolide antibiotic and expresses an inducible resistance to macrolides, lincosamides and streptogramin B antibiotics (MLS). From a mutant of S.ambofaciens exhibiting a constitutive MLS resistance phenotype a resistance determinant was cloned on a low copy number vector (pIJ61) through its expression in Streptomyces lividans. Further characterization has shown that this determinant corresponded to a mutant rRNA operon with a mutation in the 23S rRNA gene. In different organisms, mutations leading to MLS resistance have been located at a position corresponding to the adenine 2058 of Escherichia coli 23S rRNA. In the 23S rRNA from S.ambofaciens a similar position for the mutation has been postulated and DNA sequencing of this region has shown an adenine to guanine transition at a position corresponding to 2058. S.ambofaciens possesses four rRNA operons which we have cloned. In Streptomyces, contrary to other bacteria, a mutation in one among several rRNA operons confers a selectable MLS resistance phenotype. Possible reasons for this difference are discussed.

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