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Molecular characterization of pneumococci with efflux-mediated erythromycin resistance and identification of a novel mef gene subclass, mef(I).

ABSTRACT: The molecular genetics of macrolide resistance were analyzed in 49 clinical pneumococci (including an "atypical" bile-insoluble strain currently assigned to the new species Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae) with efflux-mediated erythromycin resistance (M phenotype). All test strains had the mef gene, identified as mef(A) in 30 isolates and mef(E) in 19 isolates (including the S. pseudopneumoniae strain) on the basis of PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Twenty-eight of the 30 mef(A) isolates shared a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) type corresponding to the England14-9 clone. Of those isolates, 27 (20 belonging to serotype 14) yielded multilocus sequence type ST9, and one isolate yielded a new sequence type. The remaining two mef(A) isolates had different PFGE types and yielded an ST9 type and a new sequence type. Far greater heterogeneity was displayed by the 19 mef(E) isolates, which fell into 11 PFGE types, 12 serotypes (though not serotype 14), and 12 sequence types (including two new ones and an undetermined type for the S. pseudopneumoniae strain). In all mef(A) pneumococci, the mef element was a regular Tn1207.1 transposon, whereas of the mef(E) isolates, 17 carried the mega element and 2 exhibited a previously unreported organization, with no PCR evidence of the other open reading frames of mega. The mef gene of these two isolates, which did not match with the mef(E) gene of the mega element (93.6% homology) and which exhibited comparable homology (91.4%) to the mef(A) gene of the Tn1207.1 transposon, was identified as a novel mef gene variant and was designated mef(I). While penicillin-nonsusceptible isolates (three resistant isolates and one intermediate isolate) were all mef(E) strains, tetracycline resistance was also detected in three mef(A) isolates, due to the tet(M) gene carried by a Tn916-like transposon. A similar mechanism accounted for resistance in four of the five tetracycline-resistant isolates carrying mef(E), in three of which mega was inserted in the Tn916-like transposon, giving rise to the composite element Tn2009. In the fifth mef(E)-positive tetracycline-resistant isolate (the S. pseudopneumoniae strain), tetracycline resistance was due to the presence of the tet(O) gene, apparently unlinked to mef(E).

SUBMITTER: Cochetti I 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC1315940 | BioStudies | 2005-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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