Evaluation of CTX-M steady-state mRNA, mRNA half-life and protein production in various STs of Escherichia coli

Chelsie N. Geyer, Randal C. Fowler, James R. Johnson, Brian Johnston, Scott J. Weissman, Peter Hawkey, Nancy D. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objectives: High levels of β-lactamase production can impact treatment with a β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitor combination. Goals of this study were to: (i) compare the mRNA and protein levels of CTX-M-15- and CTX-M-14-producing Escherichia coli from 18 different STs and 10 different phylotypes; (ii) evaluate the mRNA half-lives and establish a role for chromosomal- and/or plasmid-encoded factors; and (iii) evaluate the zones of inhibition for piperacillin/tazobactam and ceftolozane/tazobactam. Methods: Disc diffusion was used to establish zone size. RNA analysis was accomplished using real-time RT-PCR and CTX-M protein levels were evaluated by immunoblotting. Clinical isolates, transformants and transconjugants were used to evaluate mRNA half-lives. Results: mRNA levels of CTX-M-15 were up to 165-fold higher compared with CTX-M-14. CTX-M-15 protein levels were 2-48-fold less than their respective transcript levels, while CTX-M-14 protein production was comparable to the observed transcript levels. Nineteen of 25 E. coli (76%) had extended CTX-M-15 mRNA half-lives of 5-15 min and 16 (100%) CTX-M-14 isolates had mRNA half-lives of <2-3 min. Transformants had mRNA half-lives of <2 min for both CTX-M-type transcripts, while transconjugant mRNA half-lives corresponded to the half-life of the donor. Ceftolozane/tazobactam zone sizes were ≥19 mm, while piperacillin/tazobactam zone sizes were ≥17 mm. Conclusions: CTX-M-15 mRNA and protein production did not correlate. Neither E. coli ST nor phylotype influenced the variability observed for CTX-M-15 mRNA or protein produced. mRNA half-life is controlled by a plasmid-encoded factor and may influence mRNA transcript levels, but not protein levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdkv388
Pages (from-to)607-616
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.


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