Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

Molecular analysis of codon 548 in the rpoB gene involved in Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance to rifampin.

PMID 25534743


Most Mycobacterium tuberculosis rifampin-resistant strains have been associated with mutations in an 81-bp rifampin resistance-determining region (RRDR) in the gene rpoB. However, if this region alone were targeted, rifampin-resistant strains with mutations outside the RRDR would not be detected. In this study, among 51 rifampin-resistant clinical isolates analyzed by sequencing 1,681-bp-long DNA fragments containing the RRDR, 47 isolates contained mutations within the RRDR, three isolates contained mutations both within and outside the RRDR, and only one isolate had a single missense mutation (Arg548His) located outside the RRDR. A drug susceptibility test of recombinant Mycobacterium smegmatis and M. tuberculosis isolates carrying mutated rpoB (Arg548His) showed an increased MIC for rifampin compared to that of the control strains. Modeling of the Arg548His mutant RpoB-DNA complex revealed that the His548 side chain formed a more stable hydrogen bond structure than did Arg548, reducing the flexibility of the rifampin-resistant cluster II region of RpoB, suggesting that the RpoB Arg548His mutant does not effectively interact with rifampin and results in bacterial resistance to the drug. This is the first report on the relationship between the mutation in codon 548 of RpoB and rifampin resistance in tuberculosis. The novel mutational profile of the rpoB gene described here will contribute to the comprehensive understanding of rifampin resistance patterns and to the development of a useful tool for simple and rapid drug susceptibility tests.

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