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Genetic characterization of compensatory evolution in strains carrying rpoB Ser531Leu, the rifampicin resistance mutation most frequently found in clinical isolates
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, ISSN 0305-7453, E-ISSN 1460-2091, Vol. 68, no 11, 2493-2497 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: The evolution of rifampicin resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a major threat to effective tuberculosis therapy. Much is known about the initial emergence of rifampicin resistance, but the further evolution of these resistant strains has only lately been subject to investigation. Although resistance can be caused by many different mutations in rpoB, among clinical M. tuberculosis isolates the mutation rpoB S531L is overwhelmingly the most frequently found. Clinical isolates with rpoB S531L frequently carry additional mutations in genes for RNA polymerase subunits, and it has been speculated that these are fitness-compensatory mutations, ameliorating the fitness cost of the primary resistance mutation. We tested this hypothesis using Salmonella as a model organism. Methods: We created the rpoB S531L mutation in Salmonella and then evolved independent lineages with selection for mutants with increased relative fitness. Relative fitness associated with putative compensatory mutations was measured after genetic reconstruction in isogenic strains. Results: Compensatory mutations were identified in genes coding for different subunits of RNA polymerase: rpoA, rpoB and rpoC. Genetic reconstructions demonstrated that each of these secondary mutations reduced the fitness cost of the rpoB S531L resistance mutation. Conclusions: The compensatory mutations identified in Salmonella cluster in similar locations to the additional mutations found in M. tuberculosis isolates. These new data strongly support the idea that many of the previously identified rpoA, rpoB and rpoC mutations in rifampicin-resistant M. tuberculosis (rpoB S531L) are indeed fitness-compensatory mutations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 68, no 11, 2493-2497 p.
Keyword [en]
antibiotic resistance, S531L, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-213822DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkt224ISI: 000326978600014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-213822DiVA: diva2:683600
Available from: 2014-01-05 Created: 2014-01-04 Last updated: 2016-04-21
In thesis
1. Biased Evolution: Causes and Consequences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Biased Evolution: Causes and Consequences
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In evolution alternative genetic trajectories can potentially lead to similar phenotypic outcomes. However, certain trajectories are preferred over others. These preferences bias the genomes of living organisms and the underlying processes can be observed in ongoing evolution.

We have studied a variety of biases that can be found in bacterial chromosomes and determined the selective causes and functional consequences for the cell. We have quantified codon usage bias in highly expressed genes and shown that it is selected to optimise translational speed. We further demonstrated that the resulting differences in decoding speed can be used to regulate gene expression, and that the use of ‘non-optimal’ codons can be detrimental to reading frame maintenance. Biased gene location on the chromosome favours recombination between genes within gene families and leads to co-evolution. We have shown that such recombinational events can protect these gene families from inactivation by mobile genetic elements, and that chromosome organization can be selectively maintained because inversions can lead to the formation of unstable hybrid operons.

We have used the development of antibiotic resistance to study how different bacterial lifestyles influence evolutionary trajectories. For this we used two distinct pairs of antibiotics and disease-causing bacteria, namely (i) Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is treated with rifampicin and (ii) Escherichia coli that is treated with ciprofloxacin. We have shown that in the slow-growing Mycobacterium tuberculosis, resistance mutations are selected for high-level resistance. Fitness is initially less important, and over time fitness costs can be ameliorated by compensatory mutations. The need for rapid growth causes the selection of ciprofloxacin resistance in Escherichia coli not only to be selected on the basis of high-level resistance but also on high fitness. Compensatory evolution is therefore not required and is not observed.

Taken together, our results show that the evolution of a phenotype is the product of multiple steps and that many factors influence which trajectory is the most likely to occur and be most beneficial. Over time, selection will favour this particular trajectory and lead to biased evolution, affecting genome sequence and organization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 48 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1198
Evolution, Codon usage bias, Post-transcriptional regulation, Recombination, Inversion, EF-Tu, Frameshift suppression, Antibiotic resistance, Rifampicin, Ciprofloxacin, Compensatory evolution, Drug efflux, RNA polymerase, DNA gyrase
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-276456 (URN)978-91-554-9518-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-05-09, A1:107a, BMC, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-04-13 Created: 2016-02-13 Last updated: 2016-04-21

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