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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1998 May;42(5):1062-7.

Sulfonamide resistance in Streptococcus pyogenes is associated with differences in the amino acid sequence of its chromosomal dihydropteroate synthase.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Biomedical Centre, Uppsala University, Sweden.


Sulfonamide resistance in recent isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes was found to be associated with alterations of the chromosomally encoded dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS). There were 111 different nucleotides (13.8%) in the genes found in susceptible and resistant isolates, respectively, resulting in 30 amino acid changes (11.3%). These substantial changes suggested the possibility of a foreign origin of the resistance gene, in parallel to what has already been found for sulfonamide resistance in Neisseria meningitidis. The gene encoding DHPS was linked to at least three other genes encoding enzymes of the folate pathway. These genes were in the order GTP cyclohydrolase, dihydropteroate synthase, dihydroneopterin aldolase, and hydroxymethyldihydropterin pyrophosphokinase. The nucleotide differences in genes from resistant and susceptible strains extended from the beginning of the GTP cyclohydrolase gene to the end of the gene encoding DHPS, an additional indication for gene transfer in the development of resistance. Kinetic measurements established different affinities for sulfathiazole for DHPS enzymes isolated from resistant and susceptible strains.

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