Emergence of neisseria gonorrhoeae strains harboring a novel combination of azithromycin-attenuating mutations

the SURRG Working Group

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The nimbleness of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to evade the effect of antibiotics has perpetuated the fight against antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea for more than 80 years. The ability to develop resistance to antibiotics is attributable to its indiscriminate nature in accepting and integrating exogenous DNA into its genome. Here, we provide data demonstrating a novel combination of the 23S rRNA A2059G mutation with a mosaic-multiple transferable resistance (mosaic-mtr) locus haplotype in 14 N. gonorrhoeae isolates with high-level azithromycin MICs (256 g/ ml), a combination that may confer more fitness than in previously identified isolates with high-level azithromycin resistance. To our knowledge, this is the first description of N. gonorrhoeae strains harboring this novel combination of resistance determinants. These strains were isolated at two independent jurisdictions participating in the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project (GISP) and in the Strengthening the U.S. Response to Resistant Gonorrhea (SURRG) project. The data suggest that the genome of N. gonorrhoeae continues to shuffle its genetic material. These findings further illuminate the genomic plasticity of N. gonorrhoeae, which allows this pathogen to develop mutations to escape the inhibitory effects of antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02313-18
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • 23S rRNA mutation
  • Azithromycin resistance
  • MTR mutations
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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