Distribution of mefE and ermB genes in macrolide-resistant strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae and their variable susceptibility to various antibiotics

J Antimicrob Chemother. 1999 May;43(5):637-43. doi: 10.1093/jac/43.5.637.


From February to October 1995, 62 erythromycin-resistant strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated at Yamanashi Red Cross Hospital were tested to determine their susceptibility to various macrolides, subjected to resistance induction tests by the disc diffusion method and analysed for genes encoding resistance to macrolides (ermB and mefE). On the basis of resistance induction testing, the isolates were classified as having either inducible (59.7%) or non-inducible (40.3%) macrolide resistance. The ermB gene was always detected in resistance-inducible type isolates, either alone or in combination with mefE. The mefE gene alone was found only in non-inducible type isolates. Isolates with non-inducible resistance (those with only the mefE gene) had an intermediate level of resistance to 14-membered macrolides, and were susceptible to rokitamycin, a 16-membered macrolide. According to NCCLS guidelines, 9.6% of S. pneumoniae strains were judged to be susceptible to penicillin, 62.9% of reduced susceptibility and 27.4% penicillin resistant. No correlation was detected between the presence of particular macrolide-resistance genes (ermB, ermB + mefE, or mefE) and resistance to penicillin G.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Clindamycin / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / genetics
  • Erythromycin / pharmacology
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Penicillin G / pharmacology
  • Penicillin Resistance / genetics
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / drug effects*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / genetics*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Clindamycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Penicillin G