The novel and transferable erm(51) gene confers macrolides, lincosamides and streptogramins B (MLSB) resistance to clonal Rhodococcus equi in the environment Academic Article uri icon


  • The use of mass antimicrobial treatment has been linked to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in human and animal pathogens. Using whole-genome single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing, we characterized genomic variability of multidrug-resistant Rhodococcus equi isolated from soil samples from 100 farms endemic for R. equi infections in Kentucky. We discovered the novel erm(51)-encoding resistance to MLSB in R. equi isolates from soil of horse-breeding farms. Erm(51) is inserted in a transposon (TnErm51) that is associated with a putative conjugative plasmid (pRErm51), a mobilizable plasmid (pMobErm51), or both enabling horizontal gene transfer to susceptible organisms and conferring high levels of resistance against MLSB in vitro. This new resistant genotype also carries a previously unidentified rpoB mutation conferring resistance to rifampicin. Isolates carrying both vapA and erm(51) were rarely found, indicating either a recent acquisition of erm(51) and/or impaired survival when isolates carry both genes. Isolates carrying erm(51) are closely related genetically and were likely selected by antimicrobial exposure in the environment.

author list (cited authors)

  • Huber, L., Giguère, S., Slovis, N. M., Álvarez‐Narváez, S., Hart, K. A., Greiter, M., Morris, E., & Cohen, N. D.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • May 2020