1887

Abstract

In a collection of 110 clinical isolates of , a single strain, Kp593, was found to exhibit a mutator phenotype with a rifampicin mutation frequency 100-fold higher than the modal value for this species. Complementation experiments with the wild-type MutL, one of the main components of the methyl-directed mismatch repair system, allowed the mutator phenotype to be reversed. Sequencing revealed substitution of the conserved residue Lys307 to Arg and site-directed mutagenesis followed by complementation experiments confirmed the critical role of this mutation. The patient infected with Kp593 relapsed a month later and the strain isolated then, Kp869, was identical to Kp593, as verified by PFGE analysis. Phenotypically, Kp869 colonies were more mucoid than those of Kp593, probably due to increased capsule synthesis as shown by electron microscopy. In addition, Kp869 exhibited a 16-fold higher amoxicillin resistance level related to a 36.4 kb tandem duplication encompassing the chromosomal gene, which was unstable . These data suggest that the mutator phenotype found in Kp593/Kp869 is associated with beneficial mutations conferring a selective advantage, such as increased virulence factor production and antibiotic resistance. The latter was due to resistance gene duplication, an event rarely described in natural isolates. This is the first description of the occurrence of gene duplication in a mutator background.

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2011-02-01
2020-10-31
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