Data_Sheet_1_High-Level Macrolide Resistance Due to the Mega Element [mef(E)/mel] in Streptococcus pneumoniae.docx (27.21 kB)

Data_Sheet_1_High-Level Macrolide Resistance Due to the Mega Element [mef(E)/mel] in Streptococcus pneumoniae.docx

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posted on 24.04.2019 by Max R. Schroeder, Sarah Lohsen, Scott T. Chancey, David S. Stephens

Transferable genetic elements conferring macrolide resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae can encode the efflux pump and ribosomal protection protein, mef(E)/mel, in an operon of the macrolide efflux genetic assembly (Mega) element- or induce ribosomal methylation through a methyltransferase encoded by erm(B). During the past 30 years, strains that contain Mega or erm(B) or both elements on Tn2010 and other Tn916-like composite mobile genetic elements have emerged and expanded globally. In this study, we identify and define pneumococcal isolates with unusually high-level macrolide resistance (MICs > 16 μg/ml) due to the presence of the Mega element [mef(E)/mel] alone. High-level resistance due to mef(E)/mel was associated with at least two specific genomic insertions of the Mega element, designated Mega-2.IVa and Mega-2.IVc. Genome analyses revealed that these strains do not possess erm(B) or known ribosomal mutations. Deletion of mef(E)/mel in these isolates eliminated macrolide resistance. We also found that Mef(E) and Mel of Tn2010-containing pneumococci were functional but the high-level of macrolide resistance was due to Erm(B). Using in vitro competition experiments in the presence of macrolides, high-level macrolide-resistant S. pneumoniae conferred by either Mega-2.IVa or erm(B), had a growth fitness advantage over the lower-level, mef(E)/mel-mediated macrolide-resistant S. pneumoniae phenotypes. These data indicate the ability of S. pneumoniae to generate high-level macrolide resistance by macrolide efflux/ribosomal protection [Mef(E)/Mel] and that high-level resistance regardless of mechanism provides a fitness advantage in the presence of macrolides.

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