The diversity of inducible and constitutively expressed erm(C) genes and association to different replicon types in staphylococci plasmids
Volume 2, Issue 2
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Pages 72 - 80http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/mge.20109
: erythromycin, phylogeny, plasmid, regulation, tylosin
Authors: Lisbeth E. de Vries, Henrik Christensen and Yvonne Agersø View affiliations
The aim of this study was to analyze the diversity of the macrolide resistance gene, erm(C) in relation to structural alterations affecting the gene expression. In addition, the association of erm(C) to mobile genetic elements (MGEs) in staphylococci mainly from Danish pigs was investigated. In total, 78 erythromycin-resistant isolates were screened for erm(C) by PCR. The erm(C) genes incl. the upstream regulatory region were sequenced and the expression types were characterized phenotypically (agar diffusion test) and genotypically (sequence analysis). Phylogenetic analysis of erm(C) was compared with structural alterations affecting the gene expression. Plasmids carrying erm(C) from seven selected isolates were fully or partially sequenced. Thirty-seven isolates were shown to be erm(C) positive and erm(C) from pigs were all constitutively expressed, mainly caused by different sized deletions (118, 111, 107, 70, 66, 16 and 3 bp) in the regulatory region. Duplication (63 bp) and substitutions were also found to cause a constitutive phenotype. Only one horse isolate had an inducible expression type. Phylogenetic analysis showed that structural alterations have happened in different erm(C) allele groups and not only in one group. Furthermore erm(C) was found mainly on plasmids (~2.4–8 kb) and gene sequence types correlated with plasmid replication (rep) gene types. One erm(C) type was linked to an IS257 element able to circularize. In conclusion, structural alterations giving rise to constitutive expression of erm(C) have happened several times in the evolution of erm(C). Interestingly, the diversity of erm(C) appears to be linked to the plasmid type or MGE carrying the gene.
Received: February 1, 2012; Accepted: March 22, 2012