Adaptive acquisition of novobiocin resistance in Pasteurella multocida strains of avian origin

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Naturally occurring strains of Pasteurella multocida are atypically susceptible to hydrophobic antibiotics such as novobiocin, despite their Gram-negative cell envelope ultrastructure. Four strains adaptively resistant to 1000 μg/ml of novobiocin were obtained by sequentially subculturing cell surface hydrophobic variants of avian origin in the presence of increasing antibiotic concentrations. Adaptive novobiocin resistance was accompanied in all cases by the concomitant acquisition of resistance to coumermycin, a hydrophobic antibiotic possessing the same mechanism of action, but not to the functionally disparate hydrophobic antibiotic rifamycin. The acquisition of resistance was not accompanied by alterations in the lipid composition of the cell envelope. Subsequent growth of adaptively resistant strains in the absence of novobiocin did not result in the restoration of susceptibility to either novobiocin or coumermycin. Acquisition of adaptive resistance in encapsulated parental strains resulted in an inability to synthesize capsular material and enhanced cell surface hydrophobicity; however, parental encapsulation and decreased cell surface hydrophobicity were restored upon removal of novobiocin. These data suggest that acquisition of adaptive resistance to novobiocin conferred in this manner is the result of a stable genetic event affecting the mechanistic target of both novobiocin and coumermycin rather than a physiological adaptation involving outer membrane impermeability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-455
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Research Communications
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1998


  • Antibiotic susceptibility
  • Cell surface
  • Extracellular polysaccharide
  • Membrane permeability
  • Novobiocin
  • Novobiocin resistance
  • Pasteurella multocida


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