Mohd-Zain Z, Kamsani NH and Ahmad N (2013). Molecular insights of co-trimoxazole resistance genes in Haemophilus influenza isolated in Malaysia. Tropical Biomedicine 30(4): 584-590
In the last few decades, co-trimoxazole (SXT), an antibacterial combination of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole, has been used for treatment of upper respiratory tract infection due to Haemophilus influenzae. The usage of this antibiotic has become less important due to emergence of SXT-resistant strains worldwide. Most reports associate SXT resistance to the presence of variants of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) dfrA genes which are responsible for trimethoprim resistance; while the sulfamethoxazole (SMX) resistance are due to sulfonamide (SUL) genes sul1 and sul2 and/or mutation in the chromosomal (folP) gene encoding dihydropteroate synthetase (DHPS). This study aims to detect and analyse the genes that are involved in SXT resistance in H. influenzae strains that were isolated in Malaysia. Primers targeting for variants of dfrA, fol and sul genes were used to amplify the genes in nine SXT-resistant strains. The products of amplification were sequenced and multiple alignments of the assembled sequences of the local strains were compared to the sequences of other H. influenzae strains in the Genbank. Of the five variants of the dhfA genes, dfrA1 was detected in three out of the nine strains. In contrast to intermediate strains, at least one variant of folP genes was detected in the resistant strains. Multiple nucleotide alignment of this gene revealed that strain H152 was genetically different from the others due to a 15-bp nucleotide insert in folP gene. The sequence of the insert was similar to the insert in folP of H. influenzae strain A12, a strain isolated in United Kingdom. None of the strains had sul1 gene but sul2 gene was detected in four strains. Preliminary study on the limited number of samples shows that the TMP resistance was attributed to mainly to dfrA1 and the SMX was due to folP genes. Presence of sul2 in addition to folP in seven strains apparently had increased their level of resistance. A strain that lacked sul1 or sul2 gene, its resistance to sulfonamide was attributed to a 15-bp DNA insert in the folP gene.