Mycobacterium massiliense is differentiated from Mycobacterium abscessus and Mycobacterium bolletii by erythromycin ribosome methyltransferase gene (erm) and clarithromycin susceptibility patterns

Microbiol Immunol. 2010 Jun;54(6):347-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1348-0421.2010.00221.x.


Erythromycin ribosome methyltransferase gene (erm) sequences of Mycobacterium massiliense and Mycobacterium bolletii isolates were newly investigated. Forty nine strains of M. massiliense that were analyzed in the present study had a deleted erm(41). Due to a frame-shift mutation, large deletion, and truncated C-terminal region, the Erm(41) of M. massiliense had only 81 amino acids encoded by 246 nucleotides. Corresponding to these findings, most of the M. massiliense isolates (89.8%) were markedly clarithromycin susceptible, but resistant strains invariably had a point mutation at the adenine (A(2058) or A(2059)) in the peptidyltransferase region of the 23S rRNA gene, which is quite different from Mycobacterium abscessus and M. bolletii. In addition, erm(41) sequences of M. massiliense were more conserved than those of M. abscessus and M. bolletii. The results of species identification using erm(41) showed concordant results with those of multi-locus sequence analysis (rpoB, hsp65, sodA and 16S-23S ITS) where there were originally inconsistent results between rpoB and hsp65 sequence analysis in previous research. Therefore, erm(41) PCR that was used in the present study can be efficiently used to simply differentiate M. massiliense from M. abscessus and M. bolletii.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Clarithromycin / pharmacology*
  • Methyltransferases / genetics*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mycobacterium / classification*
  • Mycobacterium / drug effects
  • Mycobacterium / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Methyltransferases
  • Clarithromycin