Mutational analysis of quinolone resistance in the plasmid-encoded pentapeptide repeat proteins QnrA, QnrB and QnrS

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Abstract

Objectives

Pentapeptide repeat proteins (PRPs) QnrA, QnrB and QnrS confer reduced susceptibility to quinolones. This study presents an in vitro analysis of the genetic evolution of quinolone resistance mediated by changes in the coding sequences and promoter regions of qnrA1, qnrS1 and qnrB1 genes.

Methods

A random mutagenesis technique was used to predict the evolutionary potential of these PRPs against nalidixic acid and fluoroquinolones. After comparing the amino acid sequences of these and other PRPs protecting bacteria from quinolone activity, several conserved positions were found. The role of these residues in their effect against quinolones was evaluated by site-directed mutagenesis.

Results

Three different phenotypes (similar resistance, higher resistance or lower resistance to quinolones) were obtained in the random mutagenesis assays when compared with wild-type phenotypes. Only one mutant increased quinolone resistance: QnrS1 containing D185Y substitution (4-fold for ciprofloxacin). Using site-directed mutagenesis, residues G56, C72, C92, G96, F114, C115, S116, A117 and L159, according to the sequence of QnrA1, were analysed and despite the wide amino acid variability of the PRPs, most conserved residues analysed were critical to QnrA1, QnrB1 and QnrS1.

Conclusions

Amino acid sequences of PRPs QnrA1, QnrB1 and QnrS1 could be already optimized for quinolone resistance. One or several changes appear to be insufficient to obtain variants producing fluoroquinolone clinical resistance (MIC > 1 mg/L). Critical residues for quinolone resistance in PRPs were described. Interestingly, different effects were observed for QnrA1, QnrB1 and QnrS1 with the same substitution in several positions.

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