Mutational and Transcriptomic Changes Involved in the Development of Macrolide Resistance in Campylobacter jejuni

Hao, Haihong
Yuan, Zonghui
Shen, Zhangqi
Zhang, Qijing
Han, Jing
Sahin, Orhan
Liu, Peng
Zhang, Qijing
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StatisticsVeterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine

Macrolide antibiotics are important for clinical treatment of infections caused by Campylobacter jejuni. Development of resistance to this class of antibiotics in Campylobacter is a complex process, and the dynamic molecular changes involved in this process remain poorly defined. Multiple lineages of macrolide-resistant mutants were selected by stepwise exposure of C. jejuni to escalating doses of erythromycin or tylosin. Mutations in target genes were determined by DNA sequencing, and the dynamic changes in the expression of antibiotic efflux transporters and the transcriptome of C. jejuni were examined by real-time reverse transcription-PCR, immunoblotting, and DNA microarray analysis. Multiple types of mutations in ribosomal proteins L4 and L22 occurred early during stepwise selection. On the contrary, the mutations in the 23S rRNA gene, mediating high resistance to macrolides, were observed only in the late-stage mutants. Upregulation of antibiotic efflux genes was observed in the intermediately resistant mutants, and the magnitude of upregulation declined with the occurrence of mutations in the 23S rRNA gene. DNA microarray analysis revealed the differential expression of 265 genes, most of which occurred in the intermediate mutant, including the upregulation of genes encoding ribosomal proteins and the downregulation of genes involved in energy metabolism and motility. These results indicate (i) that mutations in L4 and L22 along with temporal overexpression of antibiotic efflux genes precede and may facilitate the development of high-level macrolide resistance and (ii) that the development of macrolide resistance affects the pathways important for physiology and metabolism in C. jejuni, providing an explanation for the reduced fitness of macrolide-resistant Campylobacter.


This article is published as Hao, Haihong, Zonghui Yuan, Zhangqi Shen, Jing Han, Orhan Sahin, Peng Liu, and Qijing Zhang. "Mutational and transcriptomic changes involved in the development of macrolide resistance in Campylobacter jejuni." Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy 57, no. 3 (2013): 1369-1378. doi:10.1128/AAC.01927-12. Posted with permission.