Three vancomycin-resistant streptococcal strains carrying vanG elements (two invasive Streptococcus agalactiae isolates [GBS-NY and GBS-NM, both serotype II and multilocus sequence type 22] and one Streptococcus anginosus [Sa]) were examined. The 45,585-bp elements found within Sa and GBS-NY were nearly identical (together designated vanG-1) and shared near-identity over an ∼15-kb overlap with a previously described vanG element from Enterococcus faecalis. Unexpectedly, vanG-1 shared much less homology with the 49,321-bp vanG-2 element from GBS-NM, with widely different levels (50% to 99%) of sequence identity shared among 44 related open reading frames. Immediately adjacent to both vanG-1 and vanG-2 were 44,670-bp and 44,680-bp integrative conjugative element (ICE)-like sequences, designated ICE-r, that were nearly identical in the two group B streptococcal (GBS) strains. The dual vanG and ICE-r elements from both GBS strains were inserted at the same position, between bases 1328 and 1329, within the identical RNA methyltransferase (rumA) genes. A GenBank search revealed that although most GBS strains contained insertions within this specific site, only sequence type 22 (ST22) GBS strains contained highly related ICE-r derivatives. The vanG-1 element in Sa was also inserted within this position corresponding to its rumA homolog adjacent to an ICE-r derivative. vanG-1 insertions were previously reported within the same relative position in the E. faecalis rumA homolog. An ICE-r sequence perfectly conserved with respect to its counterpart in GBS-NY was apparent within the same site of the rumA homolog of a Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis strain. Additionally, homologous vanG-like elements within the conserved rumA target site were evident in Roseburia intestinalis.
IMPORTANCE These three streptococcal strains represent the first known vancomycin-resistant strains of their species. The collective observations made from these strains reveal a specific hot spot for insertional elements that is conserved between streptococci and different Gram-positive species. The two GBS strains potentially represent a GBS lineage that is predisposed to insertion of vanG elements.
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