April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome screening of clinical MRSA isolates identifies lineage diversity and provides full resolution of transmission and outbreak events

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of Staphylococcus aureus is increasingly used as part of infection prevention practices, but most applications are focused on conserved core genomic regions due to limitations of short-read technologies. In this study we established a long-read technology-based WGS screening program of all first-episode MRSA blood infections at a major urban hospital. A survey of 132 MRSA genomes assembled from long reads revealed widespread gain/loss of accessory mobile genetic elements among established hospital- and community-associated lineages impacting >10% of each genome, and frequent megabase-scale inversions between endogenous prophages. We also characterized an outbreak of a CC5/ST105/USA100 clone among 3 adults and 18 infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) lasting 7 months. The pattern of changes among complete outbreak genomes provided full spatiotemporal resolution of its origins and progression, which was characterized by multiple sub-transmissions and likely precipitated by equipment sharing. Compared to other hospital strains, the outbreak strain carried distinct mutations and accessory genetic elements that impacted genes with roles in metabolism, resistance and persistence. This included a DNA-recognition domain recombination in the hsdS gene of a Type-I restriction-modification system that altered DNA methylation. RNA-Seq profiling showed that the (epi)genetic changes in the outbreak clone attenuated agr gene expression and upregulated genes involved in stress response and biofilm formation. Overall our findings demonstrate that long-read sequencing substantially improves our ability to characterize accessory genomic elements that impact MRSA virulence and persistence, and provides valuable information for infection control efforts.


September 22, 2019  |  

Single-molecule long-read 16S sequencing to characterize the lung microbiome from mechanically ventilated patients with suspected pneumonia.

In critically ill patients, the development of pneumonia results in significant morbidity and mortality and additional health care costs. The accurate and rapid identification of the microbial pathogens in patients with pulmonary infections might lead to targeted antimicrobial therapy with potentially fewer adverse effects and lower costs. Major advances in next-generation sequencing (NGS) allow culture-independent identification of pathogens. The present study used NGS of essentially full-length PCR-amplified 16S ribosomal DNA from the bronchial aspirates of intubated patients with suspected pneumonia. The results from 61 patients demonstrated that sufficient DNA was obtained from 72% of samples, 44% of which (27 samples) yielded PCR amplimers suitable for NGS. Out of the 27 sequenced samples, only 20 had bacterial culture growth, while the microbiological and NGS identification of bacteria coincided in 17 (85%) of these samples. Despite the lack of bacterial growth in 7 samples that yielded amplimers and were sequenced, the NGS identified a number of bacterial species in these samples. Overall, a significant diversity of bacterial species was identified from the same genus as the predominant cultured pathogens. The numbers of NGS-identifiable bacterial genera were consistently higher than identified by standard microbiological methods. As technical advances reduce the processing and sequencing times, NGS-based methods will ultimately be able to provide clinicians with rapid, precise, culture-independent identification of bacterial, fungal, and viral pathogens and their antimicrobial sensitivity profiles. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-term changes of bacterial and viral compositions in the intestine of a recovered Clostridium difficile patient after fecal microbiota transplantation

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (RCDIs). However, long-term effects on the patients’ gut microbiota and the role of viruses remain to be elucidated. Here, we characterized bacterial and viral microbiota in the feces of a cured RCDI patient at various time points until 4.5 yr post-FMT compared with the stool donor. Feces were subjected to DNA sequencing to characterize bacteria and double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses including phages. The patient’s microbial communities varied over time and showed little overall similarity to the donor until 7 mo post-FMT, indicating ongoing gut microbiota adaption in this time period. After 4.5 yr, the patient’s bacteria attained donor-like compositions at phylum, class, and order levels with similar bacterial diversity. Differences in the bacterial communities between donor and patient after 4.5 yr were seen at lower taxonomic levels. C. difficile remained undetectable throughout the entire timespan. This demonstrated sustainable donor feces engraftment and verified long-term therapeutic success of FMT on the molecular level. Full engraftment apparently required longer than previously acknowledged, suggesting the implementation of year-long patient follow-up periods into clinical practice. The identified dsDNA viruses were mainly Caudovirales phages. Unexpectedly, sequences related to giant algae–infecting Chlorella viruses were also detected. Our findings indicate that intestinal viruses may be implicated in the establishment of gut microbiota. Therefore, virome analyses should be included in gut microbiota studies to determine the roles of phages and other viruses—such as Chlorella viruses—in human health and disease, particularly during RCDI.


September 22, 2019  |  

Stalking a lethal superbug by whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetics: Influence on unraveling a major hospital outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae.

From July 2010-April 2013, Leipzig University Hospital experienced the largest outbreak of a Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase 2 (KPC-2)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPC-2-Kp) strain observed in Germany to date. After termination of the outbreak, we aimed to reconstruct transmission pathways by phylogenetics based on whole-genome sequencing (WGS).One hundred seventeen KPC-2-Kp isolates from 89 outbreak patients, 5 environmental KPC-2-Kp isolates, and 24 K pneumoniae strains not linked to the outbreak underwent WGS. Phylogenetic analysis was performed blinded to clinical data and based on the genomic reads.A patient from Greece was confirmed as the source of the outbreak. Transmission pathways for 11 out of 89 patients (12.4%) were plausibly explained by descriptive epidemiology, applying strict definitions. Five of these and an additional 15 (ie, 20 out of 89 patients [22.5%]) were confirmed by phylogenetics. The rate of phylogenetically confirmed transmissions increased significantly from 8 out of 66 (12.1% for the time period before) to 12 out of 23 patients (52.2% for the time period after; P?<.001) after implementation of systematic screening for KPC-2-Kp (33,623 screening investigations within 11 months). Using descriptive epidemiology, systematic screening showed no significant effect (7 out of 66 [10.6%] vs 4 out of 23 [17.4%] patients; P?=?.465). The phylogenetic analysis supported the assumption that a contaminated positioning pillow served as a reservoir for the persistence of KPC-2-Kp.Effective phylogenetic identification of transmissions requires systematic microbiologic screening. Extensive screening and phylogenetic analysis based on WGS should be started as soon as possible in a bacterial outbreak situation. Copyright © 2018 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Population structure of KPC-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates from midwestern U.S. hospitals.

Genome sequencing of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates from regional U.S. hospitals was used to characterize strain diversity and the bla(KPC) genetic context. A phylogeny based on core single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) supports a division of sequence type 258 (ST258) into two distinct groups. The primary differences between the groups are in the capsular polysaccharide locus (cps) and their plasmid contents. A strict association between clade and KPC variant was found. The bla(KPC) gene was found on variants of two plasmid backbones. This study indicates that highly similar K. pneumoniae subpopulations coexist within the same hospitals over time. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing to track plasmid diversity of hospital-associated carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae.

Public health officials have raised concerns that plasmid transfer between Enterobacteriaceae species may spread resistance to carbapenems, an antibiotic class of last resort, thereby rendering common health care-associated infections nearly impossible to treat. To determine the diversity of carbapenemase-encoding plasmids and assess their mobility among bacterial species, we performed comprehensive surveillance and genomic sequencing of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center patient population and hospital environment. We isolated a repertoire of carbapenemase-encoding Enterobacteriaceae, including multiple strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter cloacae, Citrobacter freundii, and Pantoea species. Long-read genome sequencing with full end-to-end assembly revealed that these organisms carry the carbapenem resistance genes on a wide array of plasmids. K. pneumoniae and E. cloacae isolated simultaneously from a single patient harbored two different carbapenemase-encoding plasmids, indicating that plasmid transfer between organisms was unlikely within this patient. We did, however, find evidence of horizontal transfer of carbapenemase-encoding plasmids between K. pneumoniae, E. cloacae, and C. freundii in the hospital environment. Our data, including full plasmid identification, challenge assumptions about horizontal gene transfer events within patients and identify possible connections between patients and the hospital environment. In addition, we identified a new carbapenemase-encoding plasmid of potentially high clinical impact carried by K. pneumoniae, E. coli, E. cloacae, and Pantoea species, in unrelated patients and in the hospital environment. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.


July 19, 2019  |  

Transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus via deceased donor liver transplantation confirmed by whole genome sequencing.

Donor-derived bacterial infection is a recognized complication of solid organ transplantation (SOT). The present report describes the clinical details and successful outcome in a liver transplant recipient despite transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from a deceased donor with MRSA endocarditis and bacteremia. We further describe whole genome sequencing (WGS) and complete de novo assembly of the donor and recipient MRSA isolate genomes, which confirms that both isolates are genetically 100% identical. We propose that similar application of WGS techniques to future investigations of donor bacterial transmission would strengthen the definition of proven bacterial transmission in SOT, particularly in the presence of highly clonal bacteria such as MRSA. WGS will further improve our understanding of the epidemiology of bacterial transmission in SOT and the risk of adverse patient outcomes when it occurs.© Copyright 2014 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing reveals the molecular basis of multidrug-resistance in ST772 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major cause of hospital-associated infection, but there is growing awareness of the emergence of multidrug-resistant lineages in community settings around the world. One such lineage is ST772-MRSA-V, which has disseminated globally and is increasingly prevalent in India. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of DAR4145, a strain of the ST772-MRSA-V lineage from India, and investigate its genomic characteristics in regards to antibiotic resistance and virulence factors.Sequencing using single-molecule real-time technology resulted in the assembly of a single continuous chromosomal sequence, which was error-corrected, annotated and compared to nine draft genome assemblies of ST772-MRSA-V from Australia, Malaysia and India. We discovered numerous and redundant resistance genes associated with mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and known core genome mutations that explain the highly antibiotic resistant phenotype of DAR4145. Staphylococcal toxins and superantigens, including the leukotoxin Panton-Valentinin Leukocidin, were predominantly associated with genomic islands and the phage f-IND772PVL. Some of these mobile resistance and virulence factors were variably present in other strains of the ST772-MRSA-V lineage.The genomic characteristics presented here emphasize the contribution of MGEs to the emergence of multidrug-resistant and highly virulent strains of community-associated MRSA. Antibiotic resistance was further augmented by chromosomal mutations and redundancy of resistance genes. The complete genome of DAR4145 provides a valuable resource for future investigations into the global dissemination and phylogeography of ST772-MRSA-V.


July 19, 2019  |  

Insertion sequence IS26 reorganizes plasmids in clinically isolated multidrug-resistant bacteria by replicative transposition.

Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), which are resistant to most or all known antibiotics, constitute a global threat to public health. Transposable elements are often associated with antibiotic resistance determinants, suggesting a role in the emergence of resistance. One insertion sequence, IS26, is frequently associated with resistance determinants, but its role remains unclear. We have analyzed the genomic contexts of 70 IS26 copies in several clinical and surveillance CPE isolates from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. We used target site duplications and their patterns as guides and found that a large fraction of plasmid reorganizations result from IS26 replicative transpositions, including replicon fusions, DNA inversions, and deletions. Replicative transposition could also be inferred for transposon Tn4401, which harbors the carbapenemase blaKPC gene. Thus, replicative transposition is important in the ongoing reorganization of plasmids carrying multidrug-resistant determinants, an observation that carries substantial clinical and epidemiological implications for understanding how such extreme drug resistance phenotypes evolve.Although IS26 is frequently reported to reside in resistance plasmids of clinical isolates, the characteristic hallmark of transposition, target site duplication (TSD), is generally not observed, raising questions about the mode of transposition for IS26. The previous observation of cointegrate formation during transposition implies that IS26 transposes via a replicative mechanism. The other possible outcome of replicative transposition is DNA inversion or deletion, when transposition occurs intramolecularly, and this would also generate a specific TSD pattern that might also serve as supporting evidence for the transposition mechanism. The numerous examples we present here demonstrate that replicative transposition, used by many mobile elements (including IS26 and Tn4401), is prevalent in the plasmids of clinical isolates and results in significant plasmid reorganization. This study also provides a method to trace the evolution of resistance plasmids based on TSD patterns. Copyright © 2015 He et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Detection and whole genome sequencing of carbapenemase-producing Aeromonas hydrophila isolated from routine perirectal surveillance culture.

Perirectal surveillance cultures and a stool culture grew Aeromonas species from three patients over a six-week period without epidemiological links. Detection of the blaKPC-2 gene in one isolate prompted inclusion of non-Enterobacteriaceae in our surveillance culture workup. Whole genome sequencing confirmed isolates were unrelated, and provided data for Aeromonas reference genomes. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Initial assessment of the molecular epidemiology of blaNDM-1 in Colombia.

We report complete genome sequences of fourblaNDM-1-harboring Gram-negative multidrug resistant (MDR) isolates from Colombia. TheblaNDM-1genes were located 193Kb-Inc FIA, 178Kb-Inc A/C2 and 47Kb (unknown Inc type) plasmids. MLST revealed that isolates belong to ST10 (Escherichia coli), ST392 (Klebsiella pneumoniae), and ST322 and ST464 (Acinetobacter baumanniiandA. nosocomialis, respectively). Our analysis identified that the Inc A/C2 plasmid inE. colicontained a novel complex transposon (Tn125and Tn5393with 3 copies ofblaNDM-1) and a recombination “hotspot” for the acquisition of new resistance determinants. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genomic confirmation of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus transmission from deceased donor to liver transplant recipient.

In a liver transplant recipient with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) surgical site and bloodstream infection, a combination of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, multilocus sequence typing, and whole genome sequencing identified that donor and recipient VRE isolates were highly similar when compared to time-matched hospital isolates. Comparison of de novo assembled isolate genomes was highly suggestive of transplant transmission rather than hospital-acquired transmission and also identified subtle internal rearrangements between donor and recipient missed by other genomic approaches. Given the improved resolution, whole-genome assembly of pathogen genomes is likely to become an essential tool for investigation of potential organ transplant transmissions.


July 19, 2019  |  

Monitoring microevolution of OXA-48-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae ST147 in a hospital setting by SMRT sequencing.

Carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae pose an increasing risk for healthcare facilities worldwide. A continuous monitoring of ST distribution and its association with resistance and virulence genes is required for early detection of successful K. pneumoniae lineages. In this study, we used WGS to characterize MDR blaOXA-48-positive K. pneumoniae isolated from inpatients at the University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany, between March 2013 and August 2014.Closed genomes for 16 isolates of carbapenemase-producing K. pneumoniae were generated by single molecule real-time technology using the PacBio RSII platform.Eight of the 16 isolates showed identical XbaI macrorestriction patterns and shared the same MLST, ST147. The eight ST147 isolates differed by only 1-25 SNPs of their core genome, indicating a clonal origin. Most of the eight ST147 isolates carried four plasmids with sizes of 246.8, 96.1, 63.6 and 61.0?kb and a novel linear plasmid prophage, named pKO2, of 54.6?kb. The blaOXA-48 gene was located on a 63.6?kb IncL plasmid and is part of composite transposon Tn1999.2. The ST147 isolates expressed the yersinabactin system as a major virulence factor. The comparative whole-genome analysis revealed several rearrangements of mobile genetic elements and losses of chromosomal and plasmidic regions in the ST147 isolates.Single molecule real-time sequencing allowed monitoring of the genetic and epigenetic microevolution of MDR OXA-48-producing K. pneumoniae and revealed in addition to SNPs, complex rearrangements of genetic elements.© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genomic analysis of hospital plumbing reveals diverse reservoir of bacterial plasmids conferring carbapenem resistance.

The hospital environment is a potential reservoir of bacteria with plasmids conferring carbapenem resistance. Our Hospital Epidemiology Service routinely performs extensive sampling of high-touch surfaces, sinks, and other locations in the hospital. Over a 2-year period, additional sampling was conducted at a broader range of locations, including housekeeping closets, wastewater from hospital internal pipes, and external manholes. We compared these data with previously collected information from 5 years of patient clinical and surveillance isolates. Whole-genome sequencing and analysis of 108 isolates provided comprehensive characterization ofblaKPC/blaNDM-positive isolates, enabling an in-depth genetic comparison. Strikingly, despite a very low prevalence of patient infections withblaKPC-positive organisms, all samples from the intensive care unit pipe wastewater and external manholes contained carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPOs), suggesting a vast, resilient reservoir. We observed a diverse set of species and plasmids, and we noted species and susceptibility profile differences between environmental and patient populations of CPOs. However, there were plasmid backbones common to both populations, highlighting a potential environmental reservoir of mobile elements that may contribute to the spread of resistance genes. Clear associations between patient and environmental isolates were uncommon based on sequence analysis and epidemiology, suggesting reasonable infection control compliance at our institution. Nonetheless, a probable nosocomial transmission ofLeclerciasp. from the housekeeping environment to a patient was detected by this extensive surveillance. These data and analyses further our understanding of CPOs in the hospital environment and are broadly relevant to the design of infection control strategies in many infrastructure settings.IMPORTANCECarbapenemase-producing organisms (CPOs) are a global concern because of the morbidity and mortality associated with these resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Horizontal plasmid transfer spreads the resistance mechanism to new bacteria, and understanding the plasmid ecology of the hospital environment can assist in the design of control strategies to prevent nosocomial infections. A 5-year genomic and epidemiological survey was undertaken to study the CPOs in the patient-accessible environment, as well as in the plumbing system removed from the patient. This comprehensive survey revealed a vast, unappreciated reservoir of CPOs in wastewater, which was in contrast to the low positivity rate in both the patient population and the patient-accessible environment. While there were few patient-environmental isolate associations, there were plasmid backbones common to both populations. These results are relevant to all hospitals for which CPO colonization may not yet be defined through extensive surveillance.


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