Antibiotic-dependent correlation between drug-induced killing and loss of luminescence in Streptococcus gordonii expressing luciferase

Loeliger, B.; Caldelari, I.; Bizzini, A.; Stutzmann Meier, Patricia; Majcherczyk, P. A.; Moreillon, P. (2003). Antibiotic-dependent correlation between drug-induced killing and loss of luminescence in Streptococcus gordonii expressing luciferase. Microbial drug resistance, 9(2), pp. 123-131. Mary Ann Liebert 10.1089/107662903765826705

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Measuring antibiotic-induced killing relies on time-consuming biological tests. The firefly luciferase gene (luc) was successfully used as a reporter gene to assess antibiotic efficacy rapidly in slow-growing Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We tested whether luc expression could also provide a rapid evaluation of bactericidal drugs in Streptococcus gordonii. The suicide vectors pFW5luc and a modified version of pJDC9 carrying a promoterless luc gene were used to construct transcriptional-fusion mutants. One mutant susceptible to penicillin-induced killing (LMI2) and three penicillin-tolerant derivatives (LMI103, LMI104, and LMI105) producing luciferase under independent streptococcal promoters were tested. The correlation between antibiotic-induced killing and luminescence was determined with mechanistically unrelated drugs. Chloramphenicol (20 times the MIC) inhibited bacterial growth. In parallel, luciferase stopped increasing and remained stable, as determined by luminescence and Western blots. Ciprofloxacin (200 times the MIC) rapidly killed 1.5 log10 CFU/ml in 2-4 hr. Luminescence decreased simultaneously by 10-fold. In contrast, penicillin (200 times the MIC) gave discordant results. Although killing was slow (< or = 0.5 log10 CFU/ml in 2 hr), luminescence dropped abruptly by 50-100-times in the same time. Inactivating penicillin with penicillinase restored luminescence, irrespective of viable counts. This was not due to altered luciferase expression or stability, suggesting some kind of post-translational modification. Luciferase shares homology with aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase and acyl-CoA ligase, which might be regulated by macromolecule synthesis and hence affected in penicillin-inhibited cells. Because of resemblance, luciferase might be down-regulated simultaneously. Luminescence cannot be universally used to predict antibiotic-induced killing. Thus, introducing reporter enzymes sharing mechanistic similarities with normal metabolic reactions might reveal other effects than those expected.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases

UniBE Contributor:

Stutzmann, Patricia




Mary Ann Liebert




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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:56

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2014 19:08

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URI: (FactScience: 45319)

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