Clonal dissemination of linezolid-resistant Staphylococcus capitis with G2603T mutation in domain V of the 23S rRNA and the cfr gene at a tertiary care hospital in China
Genetic characterisation of linezolid-resistant Gram-positive cocci in a multicentre study in China has not been reported previously. To study the mechanism underlying the resistance of linezolid-resistant isolates, nine Enterococcus faecalis, one Enterococcus faecium and three Staphylococcus cohnii isolates with various levels of resistance were collected from five hospitals across China in 2009-2012. The nine E. faecalis isolates were classified into seven sequence types, indicating that these linezolid-resistant E. faecalis isolates were polyclonal. Enterococci isolates had reduced susceptibility to linezolid (MICs of 4-8 mg/L) and had mutation of ribosomal protein L3, with three also having mutation of L4, but without the multidrug resistance gene cfr or the 23S rRNA mutation G2576T. The three S. cohnii isolates were highly resistant to linezolid (MICs of 64 mg/L to >256 mg/L), harboured the cfr gene and had the 23S rRNA mutation G2576T. Southern blotting indicated that the cfr gene of these three isolates resided on different plasmids (pHK01, pRM01 and pRA01). In plasmid pHK01, IS21-558 and the cfr gene were integrated into transposon Tn558. In plasmids pRM01 and pRA01, the cfr gene was flanked by two copies of an IS256-like insertion sequence, indicating that the transferable form of linezolid resistance is conferred by the cfr gene. In conclusion, the emergence of linezolid-resistant Gram-positive cocci in different regions of China is of concern. The cfr gene and the 23S rRNA mutation contribute to high-level linezolid resistance in S. cohnii, and the L3 and L4 mutations are associated with low-level linezolid resistance in enterococci.