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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2017 Dec 1;72(12):3252-3257. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkx292.

Novel multiresistance cfr plasmids in linezolid-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) from a hospital outbreak: co-location of cfr and optrA in VRE.

Author information

Microbiology Research Unit, Dublin Dental University Hospital, University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Infections Reference Unit, National Infection Service, Public Health England, London, UK.
Department of Clinical Microbiology, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
National MRSA Reference Laboratory, St James's Hospital, James's St, Dublin, Ireland.



Linezolid is often the drug of last resort to treat infections caused by Gram-positive cocci. Linezolid resistance can be mutational (23S rRNA or L-protein) or, less commonly, acquired [predominantly cfr, conferring resistance to phenicols, lincosamides, oxazolidinones, pleuromutilins and streptogramin A compounds (PhLOPSA) or optrA, encoding oxazolidinone and phenicol resistance].


To investigate the clonality and genetic basis of linezolid resistance in 13 linezolid-resistant (LZDR) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE) isolates recovered during a 2013/14 outbreak in an ICU in an Irish hospital and an LZDR vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) isolate from an LZDR-MRSE-positive patient.


All isolates underwent PhLOPSA susceptibility testing, 23S rRNA sequencing, DNA microarray profiling and WGS.


All isolates exhibited the PhLOPSA phenotype. The VRE harboured cfr and optrA on a novel 73 kb plasmid (pEF12-0805) also encoding erm(A), erm(B), lnu(B), lnu(E), aphA3 and aadE. One MRSE (M13/0451, from the same patient as the VRE) harboured cfr on a novel 8.5 kb plasmid (pSEM13-0451). The remaining 12 MRSE lacked cfr but exhibited linezolid resistance-associated mutations and were closely related to (1-52 SNPs) but distinct from M13/0451 (202-223 SNPs).


Using WGS, novel and distinct cfr and cfr/optrA plasmids were identified in an MRSE and VRE isolate, respectively, as well as a cfr-negative LZDR-MRSE ICU outbreak and a distinct cfr-positive LZDR-MRSE from the same ICU. To our knowledge, this is the first report of cfr and optrA on a single VRE plasmid. Ongoing surveillance of linezolid resistance is essential to maintain its therapeutic efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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