Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 18591264
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 2008 Sep;52(9):3293-300
Antibiotic resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae continues to be a major concern in public health. Resistance of N. gonorrhoeae bacteria to penicillin G is widespread in most developed countries, which has necessitated a change to newer drugs for treatment of gonococcal infections. Recent reports indicate that resistance to these newer drugs is increasing, highlighting the need for accurate therapeutic recommendations. In some countries or communities, however, N. gonorrhoeae isolates are still susceptible to penicillin, so the use of this antibiotic for single-dose treatments of medically under-resourced patients is beneficial. In order to evaluate the adequacy and sustainability of this treatment approach, we explored the presence and prevalence of chromosomally mediated resistance determinants in N. gonorrhoeae isolates collected from 2005 to 2007 in New Caledonia. We developed two new real-time PCR assays targeting the penB and mtrR determinants, to be used together with a previously described duplex assay targeting the penA and ponA determinants. The results of this study provided evidence that neither the most-common mtrR determinants nor the most-resistance-associated penB alleles are currently circulating in New Caledonia, suggesting that penicillin should still be considered a valuable treatment strategy. Additionally, using our genotyping assay, we observed an unexpected penB genotype at a relatively high frequency that was associated with a decreased susceptibility to penicillin (average MIC, 0.15 mug/ml). Sequencing revealed that this genotype corresponded to an A102S mutation in the penB gene. The molecular tools developed in this study can be used successfully for prospective epidemiological monitoring and surveillance of penicillin susceptibility.