Evolution and Mechanisms of Tigecycline Resistance in Escherichia coli
Sammanfattning: Antibiotic resistance is an ongoing global medical crisis and we are in great need of new antibacterial agents to combat rapidly emerging resistant pathogens. Tigecycline is one of few drugs that have been introduced into medicine during the last two decades. It is a broad-spectrum third generation tetracycline that is active against multidrug-resistant bacteria that cause complicated infections.In this thesis I examined the development of tigecycline resistance in Escherichia coli and associated in vitro and in vivo fitness effects. Selections of spontaneous E. coli mutants revealed relatively high accumulation rates of changes in the multidrug efflux system AcrAB-TolC regulation network and in heptose biosynthesis and transport pathways important for lipopolysaccharide (LPS) synthesis. Both groups of mutations led to reduced susceptibility to tigecycline and slower growth compared to the wild-type bacteria. Additional in vitro fitness assays and in vivo competitions showed that LPS mutants were less fit than efflux mutants, providing a possible explanation for why up-regulation of multidrug efflux pumps is the main tigecycline resistance mechanism reported in clinical isolates.Tigecycline was designed to evade the two most common tetracycline resistance mechanisms conferred by Tet proteins, efflux and ribosomal protection. However, tigecycline is a substrate for the tetracycline modifying enzyme Tet(X). Screening of Tet protein mutant libraries showed that it is possible to select Tet mutants with minimal inhibitory concentrations of tigecycline that reach clinically relevant levels. Mutations in Tet proteins that permitted a better protection from tigecycline frequently exhibited reduced activity against earlier generations of tetracyclines, except for the Tet(X) enzyme mutants, which were better at inactivating all tested tetracyclines. This is particularly worrisome because different variants of Tet(X) have recently spread to multidrug-resistant pathogens through horizontal gene transfer. Therefore, Tet(X) mutants with improved activity threaten the medical future of tetracyclines.Multidrug resistance is easily disseminated through horizontally spreading conjugative plasmids. pUUH239.2 is an example of a successful conjugative plasmid that caused the first clonal outbreak of extended spectrum β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae in Scandinavia. This plasmid was formed after rearrangements between two different plasmid backbones and it carries resistance genes to multiple antibiotic classes, heavy metals, and detergents.
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