Analysis of multiply antimicrobial-resistant isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae from the United States

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1992 Oct;36(10):2176-84. doi: 10.1128/AAC.36.10.2176.


Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates resistant to penicillin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline and sulfamethoxazole-trimethroprim are being recovered with increasing frequency in the United States. We analyzed the penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs), multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE) genotypes, and ribotypes of 22 multiresistant serotype 23F isolates of S. pneumoniae from the United States and 1 isolate each from Spain and South Africa. Also included were seven multiresistant isolates of other serotypes, three penicillin-resistant but chloramphenicol-susceptible serotype 23F isolates, and two penicillin-susceptible isolates (one penicillin-susceptible isolate was serotype 23F). Fifteen of the 22 multiresistant isolates from the United States and the isolates from Spain and South Africa had identical PBP patterns, MLEE profiles, and ribotypes. Six of the remaining seven multiresistant isolates were related by PBP pattern, but demonstrated slightly different MLEE and/or ribotype profiles, possibly because of acquisition of additional resistance markers (four of the six isolates were also resistant to erythromycin). The remaining multiresistant serotype 23F isolate had a unique PBP pattern and ribotype and was only distantly related to the other pneumococcal isolates by MLEE analysis. The PBP patterns, MLEE profiles, and ribotypes of the multiresistant serotype 23F isolates were easily distinguished from those of six multiresistant isolates of other serotypes; three other penicillin-resistant, chloramphenicol-susceptible, serotype 23F isolates; and two penicillin-susceptible isolates. One exception was a multiresistant serotype 19A isolate that was highly related to the clonal group by PBP pattern and MLEE analysis and that had a ribotype similar to those of the other erythromycin-resistant serotype 23F isolates. MLEE analysis and ribotyping were more discriminating than were the PBP patterns in discerning strain differences. These data strongly suggest that a multiresistant clone of S. pneumoniae serotype 23F that is related to multiresistant isolates from Spain and South Africa has become disseminated in the United States. Clinicians should be alerted to the spread of these multiresistant strains in the United States.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Autoradiography
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Hexosyltransferases*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Muramoylpentapeptide Carboxypeptidase / metabolism
  • Penicillin Resistance
  • Penicillin-Binding Proteins
  • Peptidyl Transferases*
  • RNA Probes
  • Serotyping
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / drug effects*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / metabolism
  • United States


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Penicillin-Binding Proteins
  • RNA Probes
  • Peptidyl Transferases
  • Hexosyltransferases
  • Muramoylpentapeptide Carboxypeptidase