Mutations in MetG (methionyl-tRNA synthetase) and TrmD [tRNA (guanine-N1)-methyltransferase] conferring meropenem tolerance in Burkholderia thailandensis

Hyojeong Yi, Hyeri Lee, Kwang Hwi Cho, Heenam Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Although meropenem is widely used to treat Burkholderia infections, the response of Burkholderia pathogens to this antibiotic is largely unexplored. Methods: Burkholderia thailandensis, a model for Burkholderia spp., particularly Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei, was challenged with a lethal level of meropenem and survivors were isolated. The genomes of two of the isolates were analysed to identify mutated genes and these genes were then specifically examined in more isolates to profile mutation diversity. Mutants were characterized to investigate the biological basis underlying survival against meropenem. Results: One of two genes associated with tRNA metabolism [metG or trmD, encoding methionyl-tRNA synthetase or tRNA (guanine-N1)-methyltransferase, respectively] was found to be mutated in the two survivors. A single nucleotide substitution and a frameshift mutation were found in metG and trmD, respectively. Five different substitution mutations affecting methionine- or tRNA-binding sites were found in metG during further screening. The mutants exhibited slowed growth and increased tolerance not only to meropenem but also various other antibiotics. This tolerance required intact RelA, a key stringent response. Conclusions: Specific mutations affecting the tRNA pool, particularly those in metG, play a pivotal role in the B. thailandensis response to meropenem challenge. This mechanism of antibiotic tolerance is important because it can reduce the effectiveness of meropenem and thereby facilitate chronic infection by Burkholderia pathogens. In addition, specific mutations found in MetG will prove useful in the effort to develop new drugs to completely inhibit this essential enzyme, while preventing stringent-response-mediated antibiotic tolerance in pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-338
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy
Volume73
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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