Biochemical and molecular characterization of streptococcus pneumoniae strains resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics
Korir, Cindy Chepngeno
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Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major pathogen that causes Otitis Media infections and bacterial meningitis in children as well as community acquired pneumonia in adults. Clinical isolates of S. pneumoniae exhibiting resistance to Beta-lactam antibiotics are being isolated with increased frequency in many countries. Streptococcus pneumoniae strains resistant to Beta-lactam drugs have modified forms of penicillin-binding proteins that exhibit reduced affinity for binding to chemotherapeutic Beta-lactams. Penicillin binding proteins are membrane-bound enzymes that catalyze the terminal step in cell wall synthesis, and are targets for Beta-lactam drugs. Seventeen clinical isolates and six vaccine strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae were characterized using conventional phenotypic methods, susceptibility to antimicrobial agents, capsular serotyping, and by different biochemical and genotyping methods. One strain, Sp D2, was resistant to penicillin and other Beta-lactams used in the study, to erythromycin, and to Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole. Sp D2 exhibited a unique protein profile in 1D SDS-PAGE gels of whole-cell proteins. Cells of Sp D2 were fractionated, and the cytoplasmic membrane fraction was obtained by ultracentrifugation and analyzed using a 1D SDS-PAGE gel. A protein band with a mass of ~50 kDa was excised and subjected to Trypsin In-Gel Digestion, followed by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) and database searching. The resulting MALDI-TOF-MS data (peptide mass fingerprints) did not produce any significant matches with proteins in any of the published S. pneumoniae genome databases. The 50 kDa protein was further subjected to N-terminal and internal sequence analysis and database searching, and the protein could not be identified by significant matches. Sp D2 did not react with any anti-pneumococcal polysaccharide capsular antibodies, and is designated as a non-typeable strain. Sp D2 exhibited a positive reaction in the Bile Solubility Test, the Optochin Test, and also positive reactions in PCR assays for the presence of the pneumococcal surface protein gene (PsaA), the autolysin gene (LytA), and the pneumolysin gene (Ply); which confirms that Sp D2 is a strain of S. pneumoniae.