JCVI: Mutational Activation of the AmgRS Two-component System in Aminoglycoside-resistant Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.
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Lau CH, Fraud S, Jones M, Peterson SN, Poole K

Mutational Activation of the AmgRS Two-component System in Aminoglycoside-resistant Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 2013 May 01; 57: 2243-51.

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The amgRS operon encodes a presumed membrane stress-responsive two-component system linked to intrinsic aminoglycoside resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Genome sequencing of a lab isolate showing modest pan-aminoglycoside resistance, strain K2979, revealed a number of mutations, including a substitution in amgS that produced an R182C change in the AmgS sensor kinase product of this gene. Introduction of this mutation into an otherwise wild-type strain recapitulated the resistance phenotype, while correcting the mutation in the resistant mutant abrogated the resistant phenotype, confirming that the amgS mutation is responsible for the aminoglycoside resistance of strain K2979. The amgSR182 mutation promoted an AmgR-dependent, 2- to 3-fold increase in expression of the AmgRS target genes htpX and PA5528, mirroring the impact of aminoglycoside exposure of wild-type cells on htpX and PA5528 expression. This suggests that amgSR182 is a gain-of-function mutation that activates AmgS and the AmgRS two-component system in promoting modest resistance to aminoglycosides. Screening of several pan-aminoglycoside-resistant clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa revealed three that showed elevated htpX and PA5528 expression and harbored single amino acid-altering mutations in amgS (V121G or D106N) and no mutations in amgR. Introduction of the amgSV121G mutation into wild-type P. aeruginosa generated a resistance phenotype reminiscent of the amgSR182 mutant and produced a 2- to 3-fold increase in htpX and PA5528 expression, confirming that it, too, is a gain-of-function aminoglycoside resistance-promoting mutation. These results highlight the contribution of amgS mutations and activation of the AmgRS two-component system to acquired aminoglycoside resistance in lab and clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa.