Polymorphism of Neisseria meningitidis penA gene associated with reduced susceptibility to penicillin

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2001 Mar;47(3):285-96. doi: 10.1093/jac/47.3.285.


We studied polymorphism of penA (which encodes penicillin-binding protein 2) in 13 strains of Neisseria meningitidis susceptible to penicillin (pen(S)) and 12 strains with reduced susceptibility to penicillin (pen(I)). These strains differed in geographical origin. Serological and genetic typing showed that they were highly diverse and belonged to several genetic lineages. Restriction analysis and DNA sequencing of penA showed that all pen(S) strains had the same penA allele regardless of genetic group, whereas pen(I) strains harboured various penA alleles. Transformation with amplicons of penA and genomic DNA from several pen(I) strains conferred the pen(I) phenotype on a pen(S) strain. Thus, reduction in susceptibility to penicillin is directly related to changes in penA and analysis of penA polymorphisms could be used as a reliable tool for characterizing meningococcal strains in terms of their susceptibility to penicillin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Base Sequence
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Hexosyltransferases*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muramoylpentapeptide Carboxypeptidase / genetics*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / drug effects*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / genetics
  • Neisseria meningitidis / growth & development
  • Penicillin Resistance
  • Penicillin-Binding Proteins
  • Penicillins / pharmacology*
  • Peptidyl Transferases*
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Species Specificity


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Penicillin-Binding Proteins
  • Penicillins
  • Peptidyl Transferases
  • Hexosyltransferases
  • Muramoylpentapeptide Carboxypeptidase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF306699
  • GENBANK/AF306700
  • GENBANK/AF306701
  • GENBANK/AF306702
  • GENBANK/AF306703
  • GENBANK/AF306704
  • GENBANK/AF306705
  • GENBANK/AF306706