Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of linezolid-resistant Enterococcus faecium from the USA and Pakistan

Kate E. Wardenburg, Robert F. Potter, Alaric W. D'Souza, Tahir Hussain, Meghan A. Wallace, Saadia Andleeb, Carey Ann D. Burnham, Gautam Dantas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: Linezolid is an important therapeutic option for the treatment of infections caused by VRE. Linezolid is a synthetic antimicrobial and resistance to this antimicrobial agent remains relatively rare. As a result, data on the comparative genomics of linezolid resistance determinants in Enterococcus faecium are relatively sparse. Methods: To address this knowledge gap in E. faecium, we deployed phenotypic antibiotic susceptibility testing and Illumina WGS on hospital surface (environmental) and clinical isolates from the USA and Pakistan. Results: We found complete concordance between isolate source country and mechanism of linezolid resistance, with all the US isolates possessing a 23S rRNA gene mutation and the Pakistan isolates harbouring two to three acquired antibiotic resistance genes. These resistance genes include the recently elucidated efflux-pump genes optrA and poxtA and a novel cfr-like variant. Although there was no difference in the linezolid MIC between the US and Pakistan isolates, there was a significant difference in the geometric mean of the MIC between the Pakistan isolates that had two versus three of the acquired antibiotic resistance genes. In five of the Pakistan E. faecium that possessed all three of the resistance genes, we found no difference in the local genetic context of poxtA and the cfr-like gene, but we identified different genetic contexts surrounding optrA. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that E. faecium from different geographical regions employ alternative strategies to counter selective pressure of increasing clinical linezolid use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3445-3452
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

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