Tigecycline represents one of the last-line therapeutics to combat multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens, including VRE and MRSA. The German National Reference Centre for Staphylococci and Enterococci has received 73 tigecycline-resistant Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis isolates in recent years. The precise mechanism of how enterococci become resistant to tigecycline remains undetermined. This study documents an analysis of the role of efflux pumps in tigecycline resistance in clinical isolates of Enterococcus spp.Various tigecycline MICs were found for the different isolates analysed. Tigecycline-resistant strains were analysed with respect to genome and transcriptome differences by means of WGS and RT-qPCR. Genes of interest were cloned and expressed in Listeria monocytogenes for verification of their functionality.Detailed comparative whole-genome analyses of three isogenic strains, showing different levels of tigecycline resistance, revealed the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) efflux pump TetL and the ribosomal protection protein TetM as possible drug resistance proteins. Subsequent RT-qPCR confirmed up-regulation of the respective genes. A correlation of gene copy number and level of MIC was inferred from further qPCR analyses. Expression of both tet(L) and tet(M) in L. monocytogenes unequivocally demonstrated the potential to increase tigecycline MICs upon acquisition of either locus.Our results indicate that increased expression of two tetracycline resistance determinants, a tet(L)-encoded MFS pump and a tet(M)-encoded ribosomal protection protein, is capable of conferring tigecycline resistance in enterococcal clinical isolates.© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journal: The Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy