April 21, 2020  |  

Intercellular Transfer of Chromosomal Antimicrobial Resistance Genes between Acinetobacter baumannii Strains Mediated by Prophages.

The spread of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) among Gram-negative pathogens, including Acinetobacter baumannii, is primarily mediated by transferable plasmids; however, ARGs are frequently integrated into its chromosome. How ARG gets horizontally incorporated into the chromosome of A. baumannii, and whether it functions as a cause for further spread of ARG, remains unknown. Here, we demonstrated intercellular prophage-mediated transfer of chromosomal ARGs without direct cell-cell interaction in A. baumannii We prepared ARG-harboring extracellular DNA (eDNA) components from the culture supernatant of a multidrug-resistant (MDR) A. baumannii NU-60 strain and exposed an antimicrobial-susceptible (AS) A. baumannii ATCC 17978 strain to the eDNA components. The antimicrobial-resistant (AR) A. baumannii ATCC 17978 derivatives appeared to acquire various ARGs, originating from dispersed loci of the MDR A. baumannii chromosome, along with their surrounding regions, by homologous recombination, with the ARGs including armA (aminoglycoside resistance), blaTEM-1 (ß-lactam resistance), tet(B) (tetracycline resistance), and gyrA-81L (nalidixic acid resistance) genes. Notably, the eDNAs conferring antimicrobial resistance were enveloped in specific capsid proteins consisting of phage particles, thereby protecting the eDNAs from detergent and DNase treatments. The phages containing ARGs were likely released into the extracellular space from MDR A. baumannii, thereby transducing ARGs into AS A. baumannii, resulting in the acquisition of AR properties by the recipient. We concluded that the generalized transduction, in which phages were capable of carrying random pieces of A. baumannii genomic DNAs, enabled efficacious intercellular transfer of chromosomal ARGs between A. baumannii strains without direct cell-cell interaction. Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Circulation of Plasmids Harboring Resistance Genes to Quinolones and/or Extended-Spectrum Cephalosporins in Multiple Salmonella enterica Serotypes from Swine in the United States.

Nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica (NTS) poses a major public health risk worldwide that is amplified by the existence of antimicrobial-resistant strains, especially those resistant to quinolones and extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESC). Little is known on the dissemination of plasmids harboring the acquired genetic determinants that confer resistance to these antimicrobials across NTS serotypes from livestock in the United States. NTS isolates (n?=?183) from U.S. swine clinical cases retrieved during 2014 to 2016 were selected for sequencing based on their phenotypic resistance to enrofloxacin (quinolone) or ceftiofur (3rd-generation cephalosporin). De novo assemblies were used to identify chromosomal mutations and acquired antimicrobial resistance genes (AARGs). In addition, plasmids harboring AARGs were identified using short-read assemblies and characterized using a multistep approach that was validated by long-read sequencing. AARGs to quinolones [qnrB15, qnrB19, qnrB2, qnrD, qnrS1, qnrS2, and aac(6′)Ib-cr] and ESC (blaCMY-2, blaCTX-M-1, blaCTX-M-27, and blaSHV-12) were distributed across serotypes and were harbored by several plasmids. In addition, chromosomal mutations associated with resistance to quinolones were identified in the target enzyme and efflux pump regulation genes. The predominant plasmid harboring the prevalent qnrB19 gene was distributed across serotypes. It was identical to a plasmid previously reported in S. enterica serovar Anatum from swine in the United States (GenBank accession number KY991369.1) and similar to Escherichia coli plasmids from humans in South America (GenBank accession numbers GQ374157.1 and JN979787.1). Our findings suggest that plasmids harboring AARGs encoding mechanisms of resistance to critically important antimicrobials are present in multiple NTS serotypes circulating in swine in the United States and can contribute to resistance expansion through horizontal transmission.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

One Health Genomic Surveillance of Escherichia coli Demonstrates Distinct Lineages and Mobile Genetic Elements in Isolates from Humans versus Livestock.

Livestock have been proposed as a reservoir for drug-resistant Escherichia coli that infect humans. We isolated and sequenced 431 E. coli isolates (including 155 extended-spectrum ß-lactamase [ESBL]-producing isolates) from cross-sectional surveys of livestock farms and retail meat in the East of England. These were compared with the genomes of 1,517 E. coli bacteria associated with bloodstream infection in the United Kingdom. Phylogenetic core genome comparisons demonstrated that livestock and patient isolates were genetically distinct, suggesting that E. coli causing serious human infection had not directly originated from livestock. In contrast, we observed highly related isolates from the same animal species on different farms. Screening all 1,948 isolates for accessory genes encoding antibiotic resistance revealed 41 different genes present in variable proportions in human and livestock isolates. Overall, we identified a low prevalence of shared antimicrobial resistance genes between livestock and humans based on analysis of mobile genetic elements and long-read sequencing. We conclude that within the confines of our sampling framework, there was limited evidence that antimicrobial-resistant pathogens associated with serious human infection had originated from livestock in our region. IMPORTANCE The increasing prevalence of E. coli bloodstream infections is a serious public health problem. We used genomic epidemiology in a One Health study conducted in the East of England to examine putative sources of E. coli associated with serious human disease. E. coli from 1,517 patients with bloodstream infections were compared with 431 isolates from livestock farms and meat. Livestock-associated and bloodstream isolates were genetically distinct populations based on core genome and accessory genome analyses. Identical antimicrobial resistance genes were found in livestock and human isolates, but there was limited overlap in the mobile elements carrying these genes. Within the limitations of sampling, our findings do not support the idea that E. coli causing invasive disease or their resistance genes are commonly acquired from livestock in our region. Copyright © 2019 Ludden et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Reconstruction of the genomes of drug-resistant pathogens for outbreak investigation through metagenomic sequencing

Culture-independent methods that target genome fragments have shown promise in identifying certain pathogens, but the holy grail of comprehensive pathogen genome detection from microbiologically complex samples for subsequent forensic analyses remains a challenge. In the context of an investigation of a nosocomial outbreak, we used shotgun metagenomic sequencing of a human fecal sample and a neural network algorithm based on tetranucleotide frequency profiling to reconstruct microbial genomes and tested the same approach using rectal swabs from a second patient. The approach rapidly and readily detected the genome of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing K. pneumoniae in the patient fecal specimen and in the rectal swab sample, achieving a level of strain resolution that was sufficient for confident transmission inference during a highly clonal outbreak. The analysis also detected previously unrecognized colonization of the patient by vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, another multidrug-resistant bacterium.IMPORTANCE The study results reported here perfectly demonstrate the power and promise of clinical metagenomics to recover genome sequences of important drug-resistant bacteria and to rapidly provide rich data that inform outbreak investigations and treatment decisions, independently of the need to culture the organisms.


April 21, 2020  |  

Potential KPC-2 carbapenemase reservoir of environmental Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas caviae isolates from the effluent of an urban wastewater treatment plant in Japan.

Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas caviae adapt to saline water environments and are the most predominant Aeromonas species isolated from estuaries. Here, we isolated antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) Aeromonas strains (A. hydrophila GSH8-2 and A. caviae GSH8M-1) carrying the carabapenemase blaKPC-2 gene from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent in Tokyo Bay (Japan) and determined their complete genome sequences. GSH8-2 and GSH8M-1 were classified as newly assigned sequence types ST558 and ST13, suggesting no supportive evidence of clonal dissemination. The strains appear to have acquired blaKPC-2 -positive IncP-6-relative plasmids (pGSH8-2 and pGSH8M-1-2) that share a common backbone with plasmids in Aeromonas sp. ASNIH3 isolated from hospital wastewater in the United States, A. hydrophila WCHAH045096 isolated from sewage in China, other clinical isolates (Klebsiella, Enterobacter and Escherichia coli), and wastewater isolates (Citrobacter, Pseudomonas and other Aeromonas spp.). In addition to blaKPC-2 , pGSH8M-1-2 carries an IS26-mediated composite transposon including a macrolide resistance gene, mph(A). Although Aeromonas species are opportunistic pathogens, they could serve as potential environmental reservoir bacteria for carbapenemase and AMR genes. AMR monitoring from WWTP effluents will contribute to the detection of ongoing AMR dissemination in the environment and might provide an early warning of potential dissemination in clinical settings and communities. © 2019 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology Reports published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization of NDM-5- and CTX-M-55-coproducing Escherichia coli GSH8M-2 isolated from the effluent of a wastewater treatment plant in Tokyo Bay.

New Delhi metallo-ß-lactamase (NDM)-5-producing Enterobacteriaceae have been detected in rivers, sewage, and effluents from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Environmental contamination due to discharged effluents is of particular concern as NDM variants may be released into waterways, thereby posing a risk to humans. In this study, we collected effluent samples from a WWTP discharged into a canal in Tokyo Bay, Japan.Testing included the complete genome sequencing of Escherichia coli GSH8M-2 isolated from the effluent as well as a gene network analysis.The complete genome sequencing of GSH8M-2 revealed that it was an NDM-5-producing E. coli strain sequence type ST542, which carries multiple antimicrobial resistance genes for ß-lactams, quinolone, tetracycline, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, florfenicol/chloramphenicol, kanamycin, and fosfomycin. The blaNDM-5 gene was found in the IncX3 replicon plasmid pGSH8M-2-4. Gene network analysis using 142 IncX3 plasmid sequences suggested that pGSH8M-2-4 is related to both clinical isolates of  E. coli and Klebsiella species in Eastern Asia. GSH8M-2 also carries the blaCTX-M-55 gene in IncX1 plasmid pGSH8M-2-3.This is the first report of environmental NDM-5-producing E. coli isolated from a WWTP in Japan. NDM-5 detection is markedly increasing in veterinary and clinical settings, suggesting that dual ß-lactamases, such as NDM-5 and CTX-M-55, might be acquired through multiple steps in environment settings. Environmental contamination through WWTP effluents that contain producers of NDM variants could be an emerging potential health hazard. Thus, regular monitoring of WWTP effluents is important for the detection of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria that may be released into the waterways and nearby communities.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Assembly of the Genome of an Acidovorax citrulli Strain Reveals a Naturally Occurring Plasmid in This Species.

Acidovorax citrulli is the causal agent of bacterial fruit blotch (BFB), a serious threat to cucurbit crop production worldwide. Based on genetic and phenotypic properties, A. citrulli strains are divided into two major groups: group I strains have been generally isolated from melon and other non-watermelon cucurbits, while group II strains are closely associated with watermelon. In a previous study, we reported the genome of the group I model strain, M6. At that time, the M6 genome was sequenced by MiSeq Illumina technology, with reads assembled into 139 contigs. Here, we report the assembly of the M6 genome following sequencing with PacBio technology. This approach not only allowed full assembly of the M6 genome, but it also revealed the occurrence of a ~53 kb plasmid. The M6 plasmid, named pACM6, was further confirmed by plasmid extraction, Southern-blot analysis of restricted fragments and obtention of M6-derivative cured strains. pACM6 occurs at low copy numbers (average of ~4.1 ± 1.3 chromosome equivalents) in A. citrulli M6 and contains 63 open reading frames (ORFs), most of which (55.6%) encoding hypothetical proteins. The plasmid contains several genes encoding type IV secretion components, and typical plasmid-borne genes involved in plasmid maintenance, replication and transfer. The plasmid also carries an operon encoding homologs of a Fic-VbhA toxin-antitoxin (TA) module. Transcriptome data from A. citrulli M6 revealed that, under the tested conditions, the genes encoding the components of this TA system are among the highest expressed genes in pACM6. Whether this TA module plays a role in pACM6 maintenance is still to be determined. Leaf infiltration and seed transmission assays revealed that, under tested conditions, the loss of pACM6 did not affect the virulence of A. citrulli M6. We also show that pACM6 or similar plasmids are present in several group I strains, but absent in all tested group II strains of A. citrulli.


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