Objectives: The aim of this study was to clarify the conflicting data regarding cross-resistance and drug-resistance mechanisms for the cyclic peptide capreomycin and the aminoglycosides amikacin and kanamycin by comparing genotypes and phenotypes of clinical isolates and in vitro selected mutants of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Methods: The genes rrs and tlyA and the promoter region of eis of 152 M. tuberculosis clinical isolates (including 55 capreomycin resistant) and 44 in vitro selected capreomycin-, amikacin- and kanamycin-resistant mutants were sequenced. In addition, MICs of capreomycin, amikacin and kanamycin on Middlebrook 7H10 were determined.
Results: The results clearly show major differences in genotypes and cross-resistance patterns to amikacin and kanamycin between the capreomycin-resistant clinical isolates and in vitro selected mutants. tlyA mutations were found almost exclusively among the in vitro selected capreomycin-resistant mutants, while only four were found among the clinical isolates, of which two were capreomycin susceptible. In contrast, 53 of the 55 capreomycin-resistant clinical isolates had a mutation at position 1401 in rrs and were resistant to capreomycin, amikacin and kanamycin. Low-level resistance to kanamycin was correlated to mutations in the promoter region of eis.
Conclusions: Our findings are consistent with the belief that a mutation at position 1401 in rrs leads to resistance to capreomycin, amikacin and kanamycin. The data also show that tlyA is not a sensitive genetic marker for capreomycin resistance in clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis, as mutations in this gene are infrequent and not all mutations in tlyA lead to capreomycin resistance.