Journal Article

16S Ribosomal RNA Methylation: Emerging Resistance Mechanism against Aminoglycosides

Yohei Doi and Yoshichika Arakawa

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 45, issue 1, pages 88-94
Published in print July 2007 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online July 2007 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/518605
16S Ribosomal RNA Methylation: Emerging Resistance Mechanism against Aminoglycosides

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Methylation of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) has recently emerged as a new mechanism of resistance against aminoglycosides among gram-negative pathogens belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae and glucose-nonfermentative microbes, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter species. This event is mediated by a newly recognized group of 16S rRNA methylases, which share modest similarity to those produced by aminoglycoside-producing actinomycetes. Their presence confers a high level of resistance to all parenterally administered aminoglycosides that are currently in clinical use. The responsible genes are mostly located on transposons within transferable plasmids, which provides them with the potential to spread horizontally and may in part explain the already worldwide distribution of this novel resistance mechanism. Some of these organisms have been found to coproduce extended-spectrum β-lactamases or metallo-β-lactamases, contributing to their multidrug-resistant phenotypes. A 2-tiered approach, consisting of disk diffusion tests followed by confirmation with polymerase chain reaction, is recommended for detection of 16S rRNA methylase–mediated resistance.

Journal Article.  3687 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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