July 19, 2019  |  

Inhibitors of the tick-borne, hemorrhagic fever-associated flaviviruses.

No antiviral therapies are available for the tick-borne flaviviruses associated with hemorrhagic fevers: Kyasanur Forest disease virus (KFDV), both classical and the Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever virus (AHFV) subtype, and Omsk hemorrhagic fever virus (OHFV). We tested compounds reported to have antiviral activity against members of the Flaviviridae family for their ability to inhibit AHFV replication. 6-Azauridine (6-azaU), 2′-C-methylcytidine (2′-CMC), and interferon alpha 2a (IFN-a2a) inhibited the replication of AHFV and also KFDV, OHFV, and Powassan virus. The combination of IFN-a2a and 2′-CMC exerted an additive antiviral effect on AHFV, and the combination of IFN-a2a and 6-azaU was moderately synergistic. The combination of 2′-CMC and 6-azaU was complex, being strongly synergistic but with a moderate level of antagonism. The antiviral activity of 6-azaU was reduced by the addition of cytidine but not guanosine, suggesting that it acted by inhibiting pyrimidine biosynthesis. To investigate the mechanism of action of 2′-CMC, AHFV variants with reduced susceptibility to 2′-CMC were selected. We used a replicon system to assess the substitutions present in the selected AHFV population. A double NS5 mutant, S603T/C666S, and a triple mutant, S603T/C666S/M644V, were more resistant to 2′-CMC than the wild-type replicon. The S603T/C666S mutant had a reduced level of replication which was increased when M644V was also present, although the replication of this triple mutant was still below that of the wild type. The S603 and C666 residues were predicted to lie in the active site of the AHFV NS5 polymerase, implicating the catalytic center of the enzyme as the binding site for 2′-CMC. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Mechanisms of evolution in high-consequence drug resistance plasmids.

The dissemination of resistance among bacteria has been facilitated by the fact that resistance genes are usually located on a diverse and evolving set of transmissible plasmids. However, the mechanisms generating diversity and enabling adaptation within highly successful resistance plasmids have remained obscure, despite their profound clinical significance. To understand these mechanisms, we have performed a detailed analysis of the mobilome (the entire mobile genetic element content) of a set of previously sequenced carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. This analysis revealed that plasmid reorganizations occurring in the natural context of colonization of human hosts were overwhelmingly driven by genetic rearrangements carried out by replicative transposons working in concert with the process of homologous recombination. A more complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary forces driving rearrangements in resistance plasmids may lead to fundamentally new strategies to address the problem of antibiotic resistance.The spread of antibiotic resistance among Gram-negative bacteria is a serious public health threat, as it can critically limit the types of drugs that can be used to treat infected patients. In particular, carbapenem-resistant members of the Enterobacteriaceae family are responsible for a significant and growing burden of morbidity and mortality. Here, we report on the mechanisms underlying the evolution of several plasmids carried by previously sequenced clinical Enterobacteriaceae isolates from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (NIH CC). Our ability to track genetic rearrangements that occurred within resistance plasmids was dependent on accurate annotation of the mobile genetic elements within the plasmids, which was greatly aided by access to long-read DNA sequencing data and knowledge of their mechanisms. Mobile genetic elements such as transposons and integrons have been strongly associated with the rapid spread of genes responsible for antibiotic resistance. Understanding the consequences of their actions allowed us to establish unambiguous evolutionary relationships between plasmids in the analysis set. Copyright © 2016 He et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic analysis of 495 vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium reveals broad dissemination of a vanA plasmid in more than 19 clones from Copenhagen, Denmark.

From 2012 to 2014, there has been a huge increase in vancomycin-resistant (vanA) Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) in Copenhagen, Denmark, with 602 patients infected or colonized with VREfm in 2014 compared with just 22 in 2012. The objective of this study was to describe the genetic epidemiology of VREfm to assess the contribution of clonal spread and horizontal transfer of the vanA transposon (Tn1546) and plasmid in the dissemination of VREfm in hospitals.VREfm from Copenhagen, Denmark (2012-14) were whole-genome sequenced. The clonal structure was determined and the structure of Tn1546-like transposons was characterized. One VREfm isolate belonging to the largest clonal group was sequenced using long-read technology to close a 37 kb vanA plasmid.Phylogeny revealed a polyclonal structure where 495 VREfm isolates were divided into 13 main groups and 7 small groups. The majority of the isolates were located in three groups (n?=?44, 100 and 218) and clonal spread of VREfm between wards and hospitals was identified. Five Tn1546-like transposon types were identified. A dominant truncated transposon (type 4, 92%) was spread across all but one VREfm group. The closed vanA plasmid was highly covered by reads from isolates containing the type 4 transposon.This study suggests that it was the dissemination of the type 4 Tn1546-like transposon and plasmid via horizontal transfer to multiple populations of E. faecium, followed by clonal spread of new VREfm clones, that contributed to the increase in and diversity of VREfm in Danish hospitals.© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


July 7, 2019  |  

The unique genomic landscape surrounding the EPSPS gene in glyphosate resistant Amaranthus palmeri: a repetitive path to resistance.

The expanding number and global distributions of herbicide resistant weedy species threaten food, fuel, fiber and bioproduct sustainability and agroecosystem longevity. Amongst the most competitive weeds, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats has rapidly evolved resistance to glyphosate primarily through massive amplification and insertion of the 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) gene across the genome. Increased EPSPS gene copy numbers results in higher titers of the EPSPS enzyme, the target of glyphosate, and confers resistance to glyphosate treatment. To understand the genomic unit and mechanism of EPSPS gene copy number proliferation, we developed and used a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library from a highly resistant biotype to sequence the local genomic landscape flanking the EPSPS gene.By sequencing overlapping BACs, a 297 kb sequence was generated, hereafter referred to as the “EPSPS cassette.” This region included several putative genes, dense clusters of tandem and inverted repeats, putative helitron and autonomous replication sequences, and regulatory elements. Whole genome shotgun sequencing (WGS) of two biotypes exhibiting high and no resistance to glyphosate was performed to compare genomic representation across the EPSPS cassette. Mapping of sequences for both biotypes to the reference EPSPS cassette revealed significant differences in upstream and downstream sequences relative to EPSPS with regard to both repetitive units and coding content between these biotypes. The differences in sequence may have resulted from a compounded-building mechanism such as repetitive transpositional events. The association of putative helitron sequences with the cassette suggests a possible amplification and distribution mechanism. Flow cytometry revealed that the EPSPS cassette added measurable genomic content.The adoption of glyphosate resistant cropping systems in major crops such as corn, soybean, cotton and canola coupled with excessive use of glyphosate herbicide has led to evolved glyphosate resistance in several important weeds. In Amaranthus palmeri, the amplification of the EPSPS cassette, characterized by a complex array of repetitive elements and putative helitron sequences, suggests an adaptive structural genomic mechanism that drives amplification and distribution around the genome. The added genomic content not found in glyphosate sensitive plants may be driving evolution through genome expansion.


July 7, 2019  |  

Simultaneous emergence of multidrug-resistant Candida auris on 3 continents confirmed by whole-genome sequencing and epidemiological analyses.

Candida auris, a multidrug-resistant yeast that causes invasive infections, was first described in 2009 in Japan and has since been reported from several countries.To understand the global emergence and epidemiology of C. auris, we obtained isolates from 54 patients with C. auris infection from Pakistan, India, South Africa, and Venezuela during 2012-2015 and the type specimen from Japan. Patient information was available for 41 of the isolates. We conducted antifungal susceptibility testing and whole-genome sequencing (WGS).Available clinical information revealed that 41% of patients had diabetes mellitus, 51% had undergone recent surgery, 73% had a central venous catheter, and 41% were receiving systemic antifungal therapy when C. auris was isolated. The median time from admission to infection was 19 days (interquartile range, 9-36 days), 61% of patients had bloodstream infection, and 59% died. Using stringent break points, 93% of isolates were resistant to fluconazole, 35% to amphotericin B, and 7% to echinocandins; 41% were resistant to 2 antifungal classes and 4% were resistant to 3 classes. WGS demonstrated that isolates were grouped into unique clades by geographic region. Clades were separated by thousands of single-nucleotide polymorphisms, but within each clade isolates were clonal. Different mutations in ERG11 were associated with azole resistance in each geographic clade.C. auris is an emerging healthcare-associated pathogen associated with high mortality. Treatment options are limited, due to antifungal resistance. WGS analysis suggests nearly simultaneous, and recent, independent emergence of different clonal populations on 3 continents. Risk factors and transmission mechanisms need to be elucidated to guide control measures. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2016. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.


July 7, 2019  |  

IS26-mediated formation of a virulence and resistance plasmid in Salmonella Enteritidis.

To characterize a novel virulence-resistance plasmid pSE380T carried by a Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis clinical strain SE380.The plasmid pSE380T was conjugated to Escherichia coli strain J53 and sequenced by PacBio RSII, followed by subsequent annotation and genetic analysis.Sequence analysis of this plasmid revealed that the entire Salmonella Enteritidis-specific virulence plasmid, pSEN, had been incorporated into an IncHI2 MDR plasmid, which comprises the cephalosporin and fosfomycin resistance determinants blaCTX-M-14 and fosA3. Based on BLAST analysis and scrutiny of insertion footprints, the insertion event was found to involve a replicative transposition process mediated by IS26, an IS element frequently detected in various resistance plasmids. The resulting pSE380T plasmid also comprises backbone elements of IncHI2 and IncFIA plasmids, producing a rare fusion product that simultaneously encodes functional features of both, i.e. virulence, resistance and high transmissibility.This is a novel hybrid plasmid mediating MDR and virulence from a clinical Salmonella Enteritidis strain. This plasmid is likely to be transmissible amongst various serotypes of Salmonella and other Enterobacteriaceae species, rendering a wide range of bacterial pathogens resistant to cephalosporins and fosfomycin, and further enhancing their virulence potential. It will be important to monitor the spread and further evolution of this plasmid among the Enterobacteriaceae strains.© 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 7, 2019  |  

Analysis of hepatitis C NS5A resistance associated polymorphisms using ultra deep single molecule real time (SMRT) sequencing.

Development of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) resistance against direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), including NS5A inhibitors, is an obstacle to successful treatment of HCV when DAAs are used in sub-optimal combinations. Furthermore, it has been shown that baseline (pre-existing) resistance against DAAs is present in treatment naïve-patients and this will potentially complicate future treatment strategies in different HCV genotypes (GTs). Thus the aim was to detect low levels of NS5A resistant associated variants (RAVs) in a limited sample set of treatment-naïve patients of HCV GT1a and 3a, since such polymorphisms can display in vitro resistance as high as 60000 fold. Ultra-deep single molecule real time (SMRT) sequencing with the Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) RSII instrument was used to detect these RAVs. The SMRT sequencing was conducted on ten samples; three of them positive with Sanger sequencing (GT1a Q30H and Y93N, and GT3a Y93H), five GT1a samples, and two GT3a non-positive samples. The same methods were applied to the HCV GT1a H77-plasmid in a dilution series, in order to determine the error rates of replication, which in turn was used to determine the limit of detection (LOD), as defined by mean + 3SD, of minority variants down to 0.24%. We found important baseline NS5A RAVs at levels between 0.24 and 0.5%, which could potentially have clinical relevance. This new method with low level detection of baseline RAVs could be useful in predicting the most cost-efficient combination of DAA treatment, and reduce the treatment duration for an HCV infected individual. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Prediction of putative resistance islands in a carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii global clone 2 clinical isolate.

We investigated the whole genome sequence (WGS) of a carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii isolate belonging to the global clone 2 (GC2) and predicted resistance islands using a software tool.A. baumannii strain YU-R612 was isolated from the sputum of a 61-yr-old man with sepsis. The WGS of the YU-R612 strain was obtained by using the PacBio RS II Sequencing System (Pacific Biosciences Inc., USA). Antimicrobial resistance genes and resistance islands were analyzed by using ResFinder and Genomic Island Prediction software (GIPSy), respectively.The YU-R612 genome consisted of a circular chromosome (ca. 4,075 kb) and two plasmids (ca. 74 kb and 5 kb). Its sequence type (ST) under the Oxford scheme was ST191, consistent with assignment to GC2. ResFinder analysis showed that YU-R612 possessed the following resistance genes: four ß-lactamase genes bla(ADC-30), bla(OXA-66), bla(OXA-23), and bla(TEM-1); armA, aadA1, and aacA4 as aminoglycoside resistance-encoding genes; aac(6′)Ib-cr for fluoroquinolone resistance; msr(E) for macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B resistance; catB8 for phenicol resistance; and sul1 for sulfonamide resistance. By GIPSy analysis, six putative resistant islands (PRIs) were determined on the YU-R612 chromosome. Among them, PRI1 possessed two copies of Tn2009 carrying bla(OXA-23), and PRI5 carried two copies of a class I integron carrying sul1 and armA genes.By prediction of resistance islands in the carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii YU-R612 GC2 strain isolated in Korea, PRIs were detected on the chromosome that possessed Tn2009 and class I integrons. The prediction of resistance islands using software tools was useful for analysis of the WGS.


July 7, 2019  |  

Isolation and plasmid characterization of carbapenemase (IMP-4) producing Salmonella enterica Typhimurium from cats.

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are a pressing public health issue due to limited therapeutic options to treat such infections. CREs have been predominantly isolated from humans and environmental samples and they are rarely reported among companion animals. In this study we report on the isolation and plasmid characterization of carbapenemase (IMP-4) producing Salmonella enterica Typhimurium from a companion animal. Carbapenemase-producing S. enterica Typhimurium carrying blaIMP-4 was identified from a systemically unwell (index) cat and three additional cats at an animal shelter. All isolates were identical and belonged to ST19. Genome sequencing revealed the acquisition of a multidrug-resistant IncHI2 plasmid (pIMP4-SEM1) that encoded resistance to nine antimicrobial classes including carbapenems and carried the blaIMP-4-qacG-aacA4-catB3 cassette array. The plasmid also encoded resistance to arsenic (MIC-150?mM). Comparative analysis revealed that the plasmid pIMP4-SEM1 showed greatest similarity to two blaIMP-8 carrying IncHI2 plasmids from Enterobacter spp. isolated from humans in China. This is the first report of CRE carrying a blaIMP-4 gene causing a clinical infection in a companion animal, with presumed nosocomial spread. This study illustrates the broader community risk entailed in escalating CRE transmission within a zoonotic species such as Salmonella, and in a cycle that encompasses humans, animals and the environment.


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