Large chromosomal inversion correlated with spectinomycin resistance in Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis bv. diacetylactis S50.
ABSTRACT A large chromosomal inversion that confers resistance to high concentrations of the antibiotic spectinomycin in Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis bv. diacetylactis S50 was identified by pulsed field gel electrophoresis. The same type of inversion was identified in 4 independent experiments and in 4 different derivatives of strain S50, indicating the same position and the same mechanism of recombination as a response to antibiotic selective pressure in all derivatives. An analysis of ribosomal operons in strain S50 and mutants revealed that ribosomal operons are not endpoints of the recombination. Spectinomycin-resistant mutants appeared in a population of S50 derivatives at a high frequency of 2 x 10(-7). These spectinomycin-resistant mutants were not able to compete successfully with the wild-type strain during 25 generations (48 h) of co-culture in vitro, indicating that inversion had a significant fitness cost. Results demonstrate that as a mechanism of genome plasticity, inversion can be directly involved in one-step development of the adaptation to a high concentration of spectinomycin.