New genetic context of lnu(B) composed of two multi-resistance gene clusters in clinical Streptococcus agalactiae ST-19 strains.
Clindamycin is a lincosamide antibiotic used to treat staphylococcal and streptococcal infections. Reports of clinical Streptococcus agalactiae isolates with the rare lincosamide resistance/macrolide susceptibility (LR/MS) phenotype are increasing worldwide. In this study, we characterised three clinical S. agalactiae strains with the unusual L phenotype from China.Three clinical S. agalactiae strains, Sag3, Sag27 and Sag4104, with the L phenotype were identified from 186 isolates collected from 2016 to 2018 in Shanghai, China. The MICs of clindamycin, erythromycin, tetracycline, levofloxacin, and penicillin were determined using Etest. PCR for the lnu(B) gene was conducted. Whole genome sequencing and sequence analysis were carried out to investigate the genetic context of lnu(B). Efforts to transfer lincomycin resistance by conjugation and to identify the circular form by inverse PCR were made.Sag3, Sag27, and Sag4104 were susceptible to erythromycin (MIC =0.25?mg/L) but resistant to clindamycin (MIC =1?mg/L). lnu(B) was found to be responsible for the L phenotype. lnu(B) in Sag3 and Sag27 were chromosomally located in an aadE-spw-lsa(E)-lnu(B) resistance gene cluster adjacent to an upstream 7-kb tet(L)-cat resistance gene cluster. Two resistance gene clusters were flanked by the IS6-like element, IS1216. Sag4104 only contained partial genes of aadE-spw-lsa(E)-lnu(B) resistance gene cluster and was also flanked by IS1216.These results established the presence of the L phenotype associated with lnu(B) in clinical S. agalactiae isolates in China. The lnu(B)-containing multi-resistance gene cluster possibly acts as a composite transposon flanked by IS1216 and as a vehicle for the dissemination of multidrug resistance among S. agalactiae.