Heterogeneity of penicillin-non-susceptible group B streptococci isolated from a single patient in Germany

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2020 Feb 1;75(2):296-299. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkz465.


Objectives: Streptococcus agalactiae [group B streptococci (GBS)] have been considered uniformly susceptible to penicillin. However, increasing reports from Asia and North America are documenting penicillin-non-susceptible GBS (PRGBS) with mutations in pbp genes. Here we report, to the best of our knowledge, the first two PRGBS isolates recovered in Europe (AC-13238-1 and AC-13238-2), isolated from the same patient.

Methods: Two different colony morphologies of GBS were noted from a surgical abscess drainage sample. Both were serotyped and antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed by different methodologies. High-throughput sequencing was done to compare the isolates at the genomic level, to identify their capsular type and ST, to evaluate mutations in the pbp genes and to compare the isolates with the genomes of other PRGBS isolates sharing the same serotype and ST.

Results: Isolates AC-13238-1 and AC-13238-2 presented MICs above the EUCAST and CLSI breakpoints for penicillin susceptibility. Both shared the capsular type Ia operon and ST23. Genomic analysis uncovered differences between the two isolates in seven genes, including altered pbp genes. Deduced amino acid sequences revealed critical substitutions in PBP2X in both isolates. Comparison with serotype Ia clonal complex 23 PRGBS from the USA reinforced the similarity between AC-13238-1 and AC-13238-2, and their divergence from the US strains.

Conclusions: Our results support the in-host evolution of β-lactam-resistant GBS, with two PRGBS variants being isolated from one patient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Penicillin Resistance*
  • Penicillins
  • Streptococcal Infections* / microbiology
  • Streptococcus agalactiae* / genetics
  • Streptococcus agalactiae* / isolation & purification


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Penicillins