Characterization of Streptomycin Resistance in Isolates of Erwinia amylovora in California.

PMID 26413887


In surveys from 2006 to 2014, streptomycin resistance in Erwinia amylovora from pear-growing areas in California declined from very high incidence in 2006 and 2007 to very low incidence in 2013 and 2014. The majority of resistant strains were designated as moderately resistant-low (MR-L), and were almost exclusively found in Sacramento County, whereas highly resistant (HR) strains were only recovered in Sutter-Yuba and San Joaquin counties. Resistance of HR strains was associated with a mutation in codon 43 of the chromosomal rpsL gene that results in a change from lysine to arginine, the same mutation that was originally reported for resistant strains from California in the mid-1970s. MR-L strains were found to harbor the strA-strB streptomycin resistance genes on transposon Tn5393a. This transposon lacks insertion sequence IS1133 that provides a promoter for efficient expression of strA-strB, resulting in lower minimum inhibitory concentrations of MR-L strains compared with those from other locations that harbor strA-strB on Tn5393::IS1133. In contrast to previously described plasmid-mediated resistance where Tn5393 is inserted in pEa34, or pEA29, Tn5393a in MR-L strains was located on plasmid pEU30. This plasmid was first described in E. amylovora from the western United States but was not associated with streptomycin resistance determinants previously. We hypothesize that Tn5393a was introduced into an E. amylovora strain carrying pEU30 and transposed into that plasmid. This hypothesis was supported by clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) sequence analysis that showed that two MR-L strains share the same CRISPR1 pattern as a streptomycin-sensitive strain. With current low resistance levels in California growing regions, streptomycin could be successfully used again, but applications per season should be limited and the antibiotic should be mixed and rotated with different modes of action.