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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2017 Dec 21;62(1). pii: e01427-17. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01427-17. Print 2018 Jan.

Molecular Mechanisms of Intrinsic Streptomycin Resistance in Mycobacterium abscessus.

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Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Universität Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Universität Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
Nationales Zentrum für Mykobakterien, Zürich, Switzerland.


Streptomycin, the first drug used for the treatment of tuberculosis, shows limited activity against the highly resistant pathogen Mycobacterium abscessus We recently identified two aminoglycoside-acetylating genes [aac(2') and eis2] which, however, do not affect susceptibility to streptomycin. This suggests the existence of a discrete mechanism of streptomycin resistance. M. abscessus BLASTP analysis identified MAB_2385 as a close homologue of the 3″-O-phosphotransferase [APH(3″)] from the opportunistic pathogen Mycobacterium fortuitum as a putative streptomycin resistance determinant. Heterologous expression of MAB_2385 in Mycobacterium smegmatis increased the streptomycin MIC, while the gene deletion mutant M. abscessus ΔMAB_2385 showed increased streptomycin susceptibility. The MICs of other aminoglycosides were not altered in M. abscessus ΔMAB_2385. This demonstrates that MAB_2385 encodes a specific and prime innate streptomycin resistance determinant in M. abscessus We further explored the feasibility of applying rpsL-based streptomycin counterselection to generate gene deletion mutants in M. abscessus Spontaneous streptomycin-resistant mutants of M. abscessus ΔMAB_2385 were selected, and we demonstrated that the wild-type rpsL is dominant over the mutated rpsLK43R in merodiploid strains. In a proof of concept study, we exploited this phenotype for construction of a targeted deletion mutant, thereby establishing an rpsL-based counterselection method in M. abscessus.


aminoglycoside resistance; counterselection marker; phosphotransferases; rapidly growing mycobacteria; rpsL; streptomycin

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