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  |  

SMRT sequencing reveals differential patterns of methylation in two O111:H- STEC isolates from a hemolytic uremic syndrome outbreak in Australia.

In 1995 a severe haemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) outbreak in Adelaide occurred. A recent genomic analysis of Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) O111:H- strains 95JB1 and 95NR1 from this outbreak found that the more virulent isolate, 95NR1, harboured two additional copies of the Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) genes encoded within prophage regions. The structure of the Stx2-converting prophages could not be fully resolved using short-read sequence data alone and it was not clear if there were other genomic differences between 95JB1 and 95NR1. In this study we have used Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing to characterise the genome and methylome of 95JB1 and 95NR1. We completely resolved the structure of all prophages including two, tandemly inserted, Stx2-converting prophages in 95NR1 that were absent from 95JB1. Furthermore we defined all insertion sequences and found an additional IS1203 element in the chromosome of 95JB1. Our analysis of the methylome of 95NR1 and 95JB1 identified hemi-methylation of a novel motif (5′-CTGCm6AG-3′) in more than 4000 sites in the 95NR1 genome. These sites were entirely unmethylated in the 95JB1 genome, and included at least 177 potential promoter regions that could contribute to regulatory differences between the strains. IS1203 mediated deactivation of a novel type IIG methyltransferase in 95JB1 is the likely cause of the observed differential patterns of methylation between 95NR1 and 95JB1. This study demonstrates the capability of PacBio SMRT sequencing to resolve complex prophage regions and reveal the genetic and epigenetic heterogeneity within a clonal population of bacteria.

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