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Champney, WS, Mentens, N and Zurawick, K (2004) An examination of the differential sensitivity to ketolide antibiotics in ermB strains of Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Curr. Microbiol. 49:239-47


Several reports in the literature have described a differential sensitivity to ketolide antibiotics in ermB strains of Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae resistant to erythromycin. Strains of S. pyogenes and S. pneumoniae carrying different erm gene alleles were examined for their susceptibility to the ketolide antibiotics cethromycin (ABT-773) and telithromycin. The effect of the antibiotics on cell growth and viability was assessed as were effects on protein synthesis and 50S ribosomal subunit formation. The susceptibility of wild-type strains of both organisms was compared with effects in strains containing the ermA and ermB methyltransferase genes. A wild-type antibiotic-susceptible strain of S. pyogenes was comparable to an ermA strain of the organism in its ketolide sensitivity, with IC(50) values for 50% inhibition of protein synthesis and 50S ribosomal subunit formation of 10 ng/mL for cethromycin and 16 ng/mL for telithromycin. An S. pneumoniae strain with the ermB gene and an S. pyogenes strain with the ermA gene were also similar in their sensitivity to ketolide inhibition. IC(50) values for inhibition of translation and subunit formation in S. pneumoniae ( ermB) were 30 ng/mL and 55 ng/mL and for the ermA strain of S. pyogenes they were 15 ng/mL and 35 ng/mL respectively. By contrast, an S. pyogenes ermB strain was significantly more resistant to both ketolides, with IC(50) values for inhibition of 50S synthesis of 215 and 380 ng/mL for the two ketolides. Experiments were conducted to examine ribosome synthesis and translational activity in the two ermB strains at intervals during growth in the presence of each antibiotic. Cell viability and 50S subunit formation were dramatically reduced in the S. pneumoniae strain during continued growth with either drug. By contrast, the ketolides had little effect on the S. pyogenes strain growing with the antibiotics. The results indicate that ketolides have a reduced inhibitory effect on translation and 50S subunit synthesis in S. pyogenes with the ermB gene compared with the other strains examined.


PubMed Online version:10.1007/s00284-004-4306-7


Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology; Bacterial Proteins/genetics; Bacterial Proteins/metabolism; Drug Resistance, Bacterial; Erythromycin/analogs & derivatives; Erythromycin/pharmacology; Ketolides; Macrolides/pharmacology; Methyltransferases/genetics; Methyltransferases/metabolism; Microbial Sensitivity Tests; Streptococcus pneumoniae/drug effects; Streptococcus pneumoniae/enzymology; Streptococcus pneumoniae/growth & development; Streptococcus pyogenes/drug effects; Streptococcus pyogenes/enzymology; Streptococcus pyogenes/growth & development



Gene product Qualifier GO Term Evidence Code with/from Aspect Extension Notes Status


GO:0010467: gene expression



The characteristics of ermB strains within the conclusion section states that erthromycin and josamycin resistance is present within the gene. The use of the triple disk sensitivity assay was the way that they could determine what ermB was resistant to.

CACAO 11351


See also


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