Transferable plasmid-mediated resistance to linezolid due to cfr in a human clinical isolate of Enterococcus faecalis

Lorena Diaz, Pattarachai Kiratisin, Rodrigo E. Mendes, Diana Panesso, Kavindra V. Singh, Cesar A. Arias

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147 Scopus citations


Nonmutational resistance to linezolid is due to the presence of cfr, which encodes a methyltransferase responsible for methylation of A2503 in the 23S rRNA. The cfr gene was first described in animal isolates of staphylococci, and more recently, it has been identified in Staphylococcus aureus from human clinical infections, including in an outbreak of methicillin-resistant S. aureus. In enterococci, cfr has been described in an animal isolate of Enterococcus faecalis from China. Here, we report an isolate of linezolid-resistant E. faecalis (603-50427X) recovered from a patient in Thailand who received prolonged therapy with the antibiotic for the treatment of atypical mycobacterial disease. The isolate lacked mutations in the genes coding for 23S rRNA and L3 and L4 ribosomal proteins and belonged to the multilocus sequence type (MLST) 16 (ST16), which is commonly found in enterococcal isolates from animal sources. Resistance to linezolid was associated with the presence of cfr on an ∼97-kb transferable plasmid. The cfr gene environment exhibited DNA sequences similar to those of other cfr-carrying plasmids previously identified in staphylococci (nucleotide identity, 99 to 100%). The cfr-carrying plasmid was transferable by conjugation to a laboratory strain of E. faecalis (OG1RF) but not to Enterococcus faecium or S. aureus. The cfr gene was flanked by IS256-like sequences both upstream and downstream. This is the first characterization of the potential horizontal transferability of the cfr gene from a human linezolid-resistant isolate of E. faecalis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3917-3922
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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