Colonization efficiency of multidrug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae in a female mouse model

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Oxford University Press

The rapid occurrence of gonococcal resistance to all classes of antibiotics could lead to untreatable gonorrhea. Thus, development of novel anti-Neisseria gonorrhoeae drugs is urgently needed. Neisseria gonorrhoeae FA1090 is the most used in gonococcal infection mouse models because of its natural resistance to streptomycin. Streptomycin inhibits the urogenital commensal flora that permits gonococcal colonization. However, this strain is drug-susceptible and cannot be used to investigate the efficacy of novel agents against multidrug-resistant N. gonorrhoeae. Hence, to test the in vivo efficacy of new therapeutics against N. gonorrhoeae resistant to the frontline antibiotics, azithromycin, or ceftriaxone, we constructed streptomycin-resistant mutants of N. gonorrhoeae CDC-181 (azithromycin-resistant) and WHO-X (ceftriaxone-resistant). We identified the inoculum size needed to successfully colonize mice. Both mutants, CDC-181-rpsLA128G and WHO-X-rpsLA128G, colonized the genital tract of mice for 14 days with 100% colonization observed for at least 7 days. CDC-181-rpsLA128G demonstrated better colonization of the murine genital tract compared to WHO-X-rpsLA128G. Lower inoculum of WHO-X-rpsLA128G (105 and 106 CFU) colonized mice better than higher inoculum. Overall, our results indicate that CDC-181-rpsLA128G and WHO-X-rpsLA128G can colonize the lower genital tract of mice and are suitable to be used in mouse models to investigate the efficacy of antigonococcal agents.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, rpsL gene, gonococcal mouse model, antibiotic resistance, allelic exchange