Inducible macrolide resistance in Corynebacterium jeikeium

A. E. Rosato, B. S. Lee, K. A. Nash

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49 Scopus citations


Corynebacterium jeikeium is an opportunistic pathogen primarily of immunocompromised (neutropenic) patients. Broad-spectrum resistance to antimicrobial agents is a common feature of C. jeikeium clinical isolates. We studied the profiles of susceptibility of 20 clinical strains of C. jeikeium to a range of antimicrobial agents. The strains were separated into two groups depending on the susceptibility to erythromycin (ERY), with one group (17 strains) representing resistant organisms (MIC > 128 μg/ml) and the second group (3 strains) representing susceptible organisms (MIC ≤ 0.25 μg/ml). The ERY resistance crossed to other members of the macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B (MLSb) group. Furthermore, this resistance was inducible with MLSb agents but not non-MLSb agents. Expression of ERY resistance was linked to the presence of an allele of the class X erm genes, erm(X)cj, with >93% identity to other erm genes of this class. Our evidence indicates that erm(X)cj is integrated within the chromosome, which contrasts with previous reports for the plasmid-associated erm(X) genes found in C. diphtheriae and C. xerosis. In 40% of C. jeikeium strains, erm(X)cj is present within the transposon, Tn5432. However, in the remaining strains, the components of Tn5432 (i.e., the erm and transposase genes) have separated within the chromosome. The rearrangement of Tn5432 leads to the possibility that the other drug resistance genes have become included in a new composite transposon bound by the IS1249 elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1982-1989
Number of pages8
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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