Evolutionary barriers to quinolone resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae

Stephen H. Gillespie, Leroy L. Voelker, Anne Dickens

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52 Citations (Scopus)


It is assumed that bacteria always pay a significant physiological price for the acquisition of resistance to antibiotics. To test whether this was the case for a strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae that develops resistance to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, we selected resistance to these agents in a wild-type strain and measured their fitness in comparative growth experiments. The relative growth rate of a mutant strain selected on ciprofloxacin (parC Serine 79 to Tyrosine) was compared with its susceptible isogenic parent and no significant deficit was found (relative fitness 1.15 95% C.I. ± 0.2.). A double mutant, however, had a relative fitness of 0.81 (parC Serine 79 to Tyrosine gyrA Serine 81 to Tyrosine). Mutant strains selected on gemifloxacin had only a modest increase in minimum inhibitory concentration; thus, second-round mutants were competed with a first-round gyrA Serine 81 to Tyrosine or the susceptible isogenic parent. The growth rate of three double-mutant strains parC Serine 79 to Tyrosine gyrA Serine 81 to Phenylanine, parC Serine 79 to Tyrosine, and Asparagine 83 to Phenylalanine were similar to the isogenic susceptible parent 1.16 (95% C.I. ± 0.17), 0.99 (95% C.I. ± 0.05), and 0.95 (95% C.I. ± 0.05), respectively. These data suggest that mutation in the parC and gyrA genes may, on some occasions, not be associated with a physiological deficit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalMicrobial Drug Resistance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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