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Evaluation of reduced susceptibility to quaternary ammonium compounds and bisbiguanides in clinical isolates and laboratory-generated mutants of Staphylococcus aureus

Furi, L., Ciusa, M.L., Knight, D.ORCID: 0000-0002-9480-4733, Di Lorenzo, V., Tocci, N., Cirasola, D., Aragones, L., Coelho, J.R., Freitas, A.T., Marchi, E., Moce, L., Visa, P., Northwood, J.B., Viti, C., Borghi, E., Orefici, G., Morrissey, I. and Oggioni, M.R. (2013) Evaluation of reduced susceptibility to quaternary ammonium compounds and bisbiguanides in clinical isolates and laboratory-generated mutants of Staphylococcus aureus. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 57 (8). pp. 3488-3497.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1128/AAC.00498-13
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Abstract

The MICs and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) for the biocides benzalkonium chloride and chlorhexidine were determined against 1,602 clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus. Both compounds showed unimodal MIC and MBC distributions (2 and 4 or 8 mg/liter, respectively) with no apparent subpopulation with reduced susceptibility. To investigate further, all isolates were screened for qac genes, and 39 of these also had the promoter region of the NorA multidrug-resistant (MDR) efflux pump sequenced. The presence of qacA, qacB, qacC, and qacG genes increased the mode MIC, but not MBC, to benzalkonium chloride, while only qacA and qacB increased the chlorhexidine mode MIC. Isolates with a wild-type norA promoter or mutations in the norA promoter had similar biocide MIC distributions; notably, not all clinical isolates with norA mutations were resistant to fluoroquinolones. In vitro efflux mutants could be readily selected with ethidium bromide and acriflavine. Multiple passages were necessary to select mutants with biocides, but these mutants showed phenotypes comparable to those of mutants selected by dyes. All mutants showed changes in the promoter region of norA, but these were distinct from this region of the clinical isolates. Still, none of the in vitro mutants displayed fitness defects in a killing assay in Galleria mellonella larvae. In conclusion, our data provide an in-depth comparative overview on efflux in S. aureus mutants and clinical isolates, showing also that plasmid-encoded efflux pumps did not affect bactericidal activity of biocides. In addition, current in vitro tests appear not to be suitable for predicting levels of resistance that are clinically relevant.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Copyright: © 2013, American Society for Microbiology
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/45277
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