Background: Carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae 2297, isolated from a patient treated with tigecycline for pneumonia, developed tigecycline resistance, in contrast to carbapenem-resistant isolate 1215, which was collected four months prior to the 2297 isolate. Mechanisms underlying tigecycline resistance were elucidated for the clinical isolates. Methods: The tigecycline minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined using the broth microdilution method, with or without phenylalanine–arginine β-naphthylamide (PABN), and whole-genome sequencing was carried out by single-molecule real-time sequencing. The expression levels of the genes acrA, oqxA, ramA, rarA, and rpoB were determined by reverse-transcription quantitative PCR. Results: Both isolates presented identical antibiograms, except for tigecycline, which showed an MIC of 0.5 mg/L in 1215 and 2 mg/L in 2297. The addition of PABN to tigecycline-resistant 2297 caused a four-fold decrease in the tigecycline MIC to 0.5 mg/L, although acrA expression (encoding the AcrAB efflux pump) was upregulated by 2.5 fold and ramA expression (encoding the pump activator RamA) was upregulated by 1.4 fold. We identified a 6,096-bp fragment insertion flanking direct TATAT repeats that disrupted the romA gene located upstream of ramA in the chromosome of K. pneumoniae 2297; the insertion led the ramA gene promoter replacement resulting in stronger activation of the gene. Conclusions: The K. pneumoniae isolate developed tigecycline resistance during tigecycline treatment. It was related to the overexpression of the AcrAB resistance-nodulation-cell division efflux system due to promoter replacement.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a fund (NRF-2018R1C1B6002674) from the National Research Foundation of Korea.
© Korean Society for Laboratory Medicine
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