Spontaneous nisin-resistant Listeria monocytogenes mutants with increased expression of a putative penicillin-binding protein and their sensitivity to various antibiotics

Anne Gravesen, K. Sorensen, Frank Møller Aarestrup, S. Knochel

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A concern regarding the use of bacteriocins, as for example the lantibiotic nisin, for biopreservation of certain food products is the possibility of resistance development and potential cross-resistance to antibiotics in the target organism. The genetic basis for nisin resistance development is as yet unknown. We analyzed changes in gene expression following nisin resistance development in Listeria monocytogenes 412 by restriction fragment differential display. The mutant had increased expression of a protein with strong homology to the glycosyltransferase domain of high-molecular-weight penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs), a histidine protein kinase, a protein of unknown function, and ClpB (putative functions from homology), The three former proteins had increased expression in a total of six out of 10 independent mutants originating from five different wildtype strains, indicating a prevalent nisin resistance mechanism under the employed isolation conditions. Increased expression of the putative PBP may affect the cell wall composition and thereby alter the sensitivity to cell wall-targeting compounds, The mutants had an isolate-specific increase in sensitivity to different beta -lactams and a slight decrease in sensitivity to another lantibiotic, mersacidin. A model incorporating these observations is proposed based on current knowledge of nisin's mode of action.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobial Drug Resistance
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)127-135
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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