Novel Genetic Element Identified for Macrolide Resistance in Pneumococcal Infections


Genetic element that confers macrolide drug resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae for use in patient screening and diagnosis as well as drug development.

Key Benefits

  • Genetic element allows identification of Streptococcus pneumoniae strains that are resistant to macrolide antibiotics.
  • Expressed efflux proteins identified by this element provide potential targets for drug development.

Market Summary

Infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae are a significant health problem worldwide, being the leading causes of bacterial pneumonia, meningitis, acute otitis media, and acute sinusitis. Treatment of S. pneumoniae infections has become complicated by rapidly emerging resistance to penicillin, the gold standard antibiotic treatment. While macrolides, such as Erithromycin and Azithromycin, are considered alternatives for the treatment of non-meningeal infections, resistance has emerged to these antibiotics as well. There is a clear need for tools to help us understand macrolide resistance as well as to allow development of new antibiotics for resistant strains.

Technical Summary

Researchers at Emory have identified a genetic element containing the macrolide resistance determinant in Streptococcus pneumoniae, designated as the macrolide efflux genetic assembly (MEGA). The invention consists of nucleotide sequences that encode for several efflux proteins. This genetic element can be used to predict antibiotic resistance in S. pneumonia strains, allowing determination of appropriate treatment of infections. This genetic element can also be used as a target in drug development to identify compounds that inhibit the expressed efflux proteins and therefore abolish drug resistance.

Developmental Stage

The nucleic acid sequence of the entire MEGA genetic element has been identified.

Patent Information

Tech ID: 00041
Published: 2/24/2009