A rifamycin inactivating phosphotransferase family shared by environmental and pathogenic bacteria Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Significance Environmental microorganisms are a source of diverse antibiotic resistance determinants. With the appropriate selection pressure, these resistance genes can be mobilized to clinically relevant pathogens. Identifying and characterizing elements of the environmental antibiotic resistome provides an early warning of what we may expect to encounter in the clinic. We uncover a conserved genetic element associated with various rifamycin antibiotic-inactivating mechanisms. This element led to the identification of a new resistance gene and associated enzyme responsible for inactivating rifamycin antibiotics by phosphorylation. Cryptic orthologous genes are also found in pathogenic bacteria but remain susceptible to the drug. This study reveals a new antibiotic resistance protein family and the unexpected prevalence of a silent rifamycin resistome among pathogenic bacteria.


  • Spanogiannopoulos, Peter
  • Waglechner, Nicholas
  • Koteva, Kalinka
  • Wright, Gerard

publication date

  • May 13, 2014