Genetics of resistance to macrolide antibiotics and lincomycin in natural isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes
- Cite this article as:
- Malke, H. Molec. Gen. Genet. (1974) 135: 349. doi:10.1007/BF00271149
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Of 5 clinically isolated strains of Streptococcus pyogenes, 3 showed high-level resistance to erythromycin and lincomycin that was inducible by subinhibitory concentrations of these drugs (IR strains) while 2 strains exhibited constitutive erythromycin and lincomycin resistance (CR strains) which was expressed without prior exposure to low drug concentrations. The CR strain 15346 showed spontaneous loss of resistance whereas resistance in the other strains was quite stable even under curing conditions. The IR strain 13234 was found to be polylysogenic for at least 4 different phages designated P13234ma, mi, mu, and mo. Phage mo, antigenically distinct from the other three, was shown to mediate the transfer of the resistance determinant ERL1 of strain 13234. ERL1 if borne by appropriate strains was also transducible by the virulent phage A25. ERL1 behaved as a discrete genetic unit in transduction experiments, was not linked to either of two chromosomal regions governing resistance to antibiotics that affect the ribosome, could be transferred to recombination deficient hosts, represented a relatively large UV inactivation target, and showed no stimulation of transduction by low UV doses. These findings suggest that resistance to erythromycin and lincomycin in certain natural isolates of S. pyogenes is specified by, or under the control of, a plasmid.