Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

Transferable quinolone resistance in Vibrio cholerae.

PMID 19949057


Ciprofloxacin was introduced for treatment of patients with cholera in Bangladesh because of resistance to other agents, but its utility has been compromised by the decreasing ciprofloxacin susceptibility of Vibrio cholerae over time. We correlated levels of susceptibility and temporal patterns with the occurrence of mutation in gyrA, which encodes a subunit of DNA gyrase, followed by mutation in parC, which encodes a subunit of DNA topoisomerase IV. We found that ciprofloxacin activity was more recently further compromised in strains containing qnrVC3, which encodes a pentapeptide repeat protein of the Qnr subfamily, members of which protect topoisomerases from quinolone action. We show that qnrVC3 confers transferable low-level quinolone resistance and is present within a member of the SXT integrating conjugative element family found commonly on the chromosomes of multidrug-resistant strains of V. cholerae and on the chromosomes of Escherichia coli transconjugants constructed in the laboratory. Thus, progressive increases in quinolone resistance in V. cholerae are linked to cumulative mutations in quinolone targets and most recently to a qnr gene on a mobile multidrug resistance element, resulting in further challenges for the antimicrobial therapy of cholera.