April 21, 2020  |  

Plasmid-encoded tet(X) genes that confer high-level tigecycline resistance in Escherichia coli.

Tigecycline is one of the last-resort antibiotics to treat complicated infections caused by both multidrug-resistant Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria1. Tigecycline resistance has sporadically occurred in recent years, primarily due to chromosome-encoding mechanisms, such as overexpression of efflux pumps and ribosome protection2,3. Here, we report the emergence of the plasmid-mediated mobile tigecycline resistance mechanism Tet(X4) in Escherichia coli isolates from China, which is capable of degrading all tetracyclines, including tigecycline and the US FDA newly approved eravacycline. The tet(X4)-harbouring IncQ1 plasmid is highly transferable, and can be successfully mobilized and stabilized in recipient clinical and laboratory strains of Enterobacteriaceae bacteria. It is noteworthy that tet(X4)-positive E.?coli strains, including isolates co-harbouring mcr-1, have been widely detected in pigs, chickens, soil and dust samples in China. In vivo murine models demonstrated that the presence of Tet(X4) led to tigecycline treatment failure. Consequently, the emergence of plasmid-mediated Tet(X4) challenges the clinical efficacy of the entire family of tetracycline antibiotics. Importantly, our study raises concern that the plasmid-mediated tigecycline resistance may further spread into various ecological niches and into clinical high-risk pathogens. Collective efforts are in urgent need to preserve the potency of these essential antibiotics.


April 21, 2020  |  

Evolution and global transmission of a multidrug-resistant, community-associated MRSA lineage from the Indian subcontinent

The evolution and global transmission of antimicrobial resistance has been well documented in Gram-negative bacteria and healthcare-associated epidemic pathogens, often emerging from regions with heavy antimicrobial use. However, the degree to which similar processes occur with Gram-positive bacteria in the community setting is less well understood. Here, we trace the recent origins and global spread of a multidrug resistant, community-associated Staphylococcus aureus lineage from the Indian subcontinent, the Bengal Bay clone (ST772). We generated whole genome sequence data of 340 isolates from 14 countries, including the first isolates from Bangladesh and India, to reconstruct the evolutionary history and genomic epidemiology of the lineage. Our data shows that the clone emerged on the Indian subcontinent in the early 1970s and disseminated rapidly in the 1990s. Short-term outbreaks in community and healthcare settings occurred following intercontinental transmission, typically associated with travel and family contacts on the subcontinent, but ongoing endemic transmission was uncommon. Acquisition of a multidrug resistance integrated plasmid was instrumental in the divergence of a single dominant and globally disseminated clade in the early 1990s. Phenotypic data on biofilm, growth and toxicity point to antimicrobial resistance as the driving force in the evolution of ST772. The Bengal Bay clone therefore combines the multidrug resistance of traditional healthcare-associated clones with the epidemiological transmission of community-associated MRSA. Our study demonstrates the importance of whole genome sequencing for tracking the evolution of emerging and resistant pathogens. It provides a critical framework for ongoing surveillance of the clone on the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.Importance The Bengal Bay clone (ST772) is a community-acquired and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus lineage first isolated from Bangladesh and India in 2004. In this study, we show that the Bengal Bay clone emerged from a virulent progenitor circulating on the Indian subcontinent. Its subsequent global transmission was associated with travel or family contact in the region. ST772 progressively acquired specific resistance elements at limited cost to its fitness and continues to be exported globally resulting in small-scale community and healthcare outbreaks. The Bengal Bay clone therefore combines the virulence potential and epidemiology of community-associated clones with the multidrug-resistance of healthcare-associated S. aureus lineages. This study demonstrates the importance of whole genome sequencing for the surveillance of highly antibiotic resistant pathogens, which may emerge in the community setting of regions with poor antibiotic stewardship and rapidly spread into hospitals and communities across the world.


April 21, 2020  |  

Increased prevalence of Escherichia coli strains from food carrying blaNDM and mcr-1-bearing plasmids that structurally resemble those of clinical strains, China, 2015 to 2017.

Introduction: Emergence of resistance determinants of blaNDM and mcr-1 has undermined the antimicrobial effectiveness of the last line drugs carbapenems and colistin. Aim: This work aimed to assess the prevalence of blaNDM and mcr-1 in E. coli strains collected from food in Shenzhen, China, during the period 2015 to 2017. Methods: Multidrug-resistant E. coli strains were isolated from food samples. Plasmids encoding mcr-1 or blaNDM genes were characterised and compared with plasmids found in clinical isolates.ResultsAmong 1,166 non-repeated cephalosporin-resistant E. coli strains isolated from 2,147 food samples, 390 and 42, respectively, were resistant to colistin and meropenem, with five strains being resistant to both agents. The rate of resistance to colistin increased significantly (p?


April 21, 2020  |  

Dual Role of gnaA in Antibiotic Resistance and Virulence in Acinetobacter baumannii.

Acinetobacter baumannii is an important Gram-negative pathogen in hospital-related infections. However, treatment options for A. baumannii infections have become limited due to multidrug resistance. Bacterial virulence is often associated with capsule genes found in the K locus, many of which are essential for biosynthesis of the bacterial envelope. However, the roles of other genes in the K locus remain largely unknown. From an in vitro evolution experiment, we obtained an isolate of the virulent and multidrug-resistant A. baumannii strain MDR-ZJ06, called MDR-ZJ06M, which has an insertion by the ISAba16 transposon in gnaA (encoding UDP-N-acetylglucosamine C-6 dehydrogenase), a gene found in the K locus. The isolate showed an increased resistance toward tigecycline, whereas the MIC decreased in the case of carbapenems, cephalosporins, colistin, and minocycline. By using knockout and complementation experiments, we demonstrated that gnaA is important for the synthesis of lipooligosaccharide and capsular polysaccharide and that disruption of the gene affects the morphology, drug susceptibility, and virulence of the pathogen.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

A Highly Unusual V1 Region of Env in an Elite Controller of HIV Infection.

HIV elite controllers represent a remarkable minority of patients who maintain normal CD4+ T-cell counts and low or undetectable viral loads for decades in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. To examine the possible contribution of virus attenuation to elite control, we obtained a primary HIV-1 isolate from an elite controller who had been infected for 19?years, the last 10 of which were in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. Full-length sequencing of this isolate revealed a highly unusual V1 domain in Envelope (Env). The V1 domain in this HIV-1 strain was 49 amino acids, placing it in the top 1% of lengths among the 6,112 Env sequences in the Los Alamos National Laboratory online database. Furthermore, it included two additional N-glycosylation sites and a pair of cysteines suggestive of an extra disulfide loop. Virus with this Env retained good infectivity and replicative capacity; however, analysis of recombinant viruses suggested that other sequences in Env were adapted to accommodate the unusual V1 domain. While the long V1 domain did not confer resistance to neutralization by monoclonal antibodies of the V1/V2-glycan-dependent class, it did confer resistance to neutralization by monoclonal antibodies of the V3-glycan-dependent class. Our findings support results in the literature that suggest a role for long V1 regions in shielding HIV-1 from recognition by V3-directed broadly neutralizing antibodies. In the case of the elite controller described here, it seems likely that selective pressures from the humoral immune system were responsible for driving the highly unusual polymorphisms present in this HIV-1 Envelope.IMPORTANCE Elite controllers have long provided an avenue for researchers to reveal mechanisms underlying control of HIV-1. While the role of host genetic factors in facilitating elite control is well known, the possibility of infection by attenuated strains of HIV-1 has been much less studied. Here we describe an unusual viral feature found in an elite controller of HIV-1 infection and demonstrate its role in conferring escape from monoclonal antibodies of the V3-glycan class. Our results suggest that extreme variation may be needed by HIV-1 to escape neutralization by some antibody specificities. Copyright © 2019 Silver et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic and biochemical characterization of FRI-3, a novel variant of the Ambler class A carbapenemase FRI-1.

To characterize a new variant of the FRI class A carbapenemase isolated from an MDR clinical Enterobacter cloacae isolate.A carbapenem-resistant E. cloacae was isolated from a rectal swab from a patient in an ICU in Southern Germany. Various phenotypic tests confirmed production of a putative class A carbapenemase. The new bla gene variant, blaFRI-3, and its genetic environment were characterized by WGS. Biochemical characterization was performed by heterologous expression in Escherichia coli TOP10 and by purification of the enzyme with subsequent determination of its kinetic parameters.PCR and sequencing carried out for different class A carbapenemase genes confirmed the presence of a novel variant of blaFRI-1. The novel variant was named FRI-3 and exhibited 91%, 96% and 92% amino acid identity to FRI-1, FRI-2 and FRI-4, respectively. E. coli TOP10 expressing blaFRI-3 showed increased resistance to almost all ß-lactams. Comparing the catalytic behaviour of FRI-3 and FRI-1, it was shown that FRI-3 had the same substrate spectrum, but basically hydrolysed ß-lactams less efficiently than FRI-1. WGS data revealed that blaFRI-3 was located on a 111?kb plasmid.The biochemical characterization of FRI-3 illustrates that even a few differences in the amino acid sequence can lead to altered catalytic activities of ß-lactamases belonging to the same family. © The Author(s) 2019. 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.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic characterization and potential molecular dissemination mechanism of tet(31) gene in Aeromonas caviae from an oxytetracycline wastewater treatment system.

Recently, the rarely reported tet(31) tetracycline resistance determinant was commonly found in Aeromonas salmonicida, Gallibacterium anatis, and Oblitimonas alkaliphila isolated from farming animals and related environment. However, its distribution in other bacteria and potential molecular dissemination mechanism in environment are still unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential mechanism underlying dissemination of tet(31) by analysing the tet(31)-carrying fragments in A. caviae strains isolated from an aerobic biofilm reactor treating oxytetracycline bearing wastewater. Twenty-three A. caviae strains were screened for the tet(31) gene by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Three strains (two harbouring tet(31), one not) were subjected to whole genome sequencing using the PacBio RSII platform. Seventeen A. caviae strains carried the tet(31) gene and exhibited high resistance levels to oxytetracycline with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) ranging from 256 to 512?mg/L. tet(31) was comprised of the transposon Tn6432 on the chromosome of A. caviae, and Tn6432 was also found in 15 additional tet(31)-positive A. caviae isolates by PCR. More important, Tn6432 was located on an integrative conjugative element (ICE)-like element, which could mediate the dissemination of the tet(31)-carrying transposon Tn6432 between bacteria. Comparative analysis demonstrated that Tn6432 homologs with the structure ISCR2-?phzF-tetR(31)-tet(31)-?glmM-sul2 were also carried by A. salmonicida, G. anatis, and O. alkaliphila, suggesting that this transposon can be transferred between species and even genera. This work provides the first report on the identification of the tet(31) gene in A. caviae, and will be helpful in exploring the dissemination mechanisms of tet(31) in water environment.Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic characterization of an MDR/virulence genomic element carrying two T6SS gene clusters in a clinical Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate of swine origin.

Multiresistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates rarely cause infections in pigs. The aim of this study was to investigate a multiresistant porcine K. pneumoniae isolate for plasmidic and chromosomal antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes and their genetic environment.K. pneumoniae strain ZYST1 originated from a pig with pneumonia. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed using broth microdilution. Conjugation experiments were conducted using Escherichia coli J53 as the recipient. The complete sequences of the chromosomal DNA and the plasmids were generated by WGS and analysed for the presence of resistance and virulence genes.The MDR K. pneumoniae ST1 strain ZYST1 contained three plasmids belonging to incompatibility groups IncFIIk5-FIB, IncI1 and IncX4, respectively. The IncFIIk5-FIB plasmid carried the resistance genes aadA2, mph(A), sul1 and aph(3′)-Ia, and the IncI1 plasmid carried aadA22 and erm(B). No resistance genes were present on the IncX4 plasmid. Plasmids related to the aforementioned three plasmids were also present in other Enterobacteriaceae species from humans, animals and the environment. Bioinformatic analyses identified a chromosomal 904?kb MDR element flanked by two copies of ISKpn26. This element included virulence factors, such as a type VI secretion system (T6SS) and genes for type 1 fimbriae, the toxin-antitoxin system HipA/HipB, antimicrobial resistance genes, such as blaSHV-187, mdtk, catA and the multiple antibiotic resistance operon marRABC, and heavy metal resistance determinants, such as chrB/chrA and tehA/tehB.This study reports a novel 904?kb MDR/virulence genomic element and three important plasmids coexisting in a clinical K. pneumoniae isolate of animal origin. © The Author(s) 2019. 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.


April 21, 2020  |  

Wild relatives of maize

Crop domestication changed the course of human evolution, and domestication of maize (Zea mays L. subspecies mays), today the world’s most important crop, enabled civilizations to flourish and has played a major role in shaping the world we know today. Archaeological and ethnobotanical research help us understand the development of the cultures and the movements of the peoples who carried maize to new areas where it continued to adapt. Ancient remains of maize cobs and kernels have been found in the place of domestication, the Balsas River Valley (~9,000 years before present era), and the cultivation center, the Tehuacan Valley (~5,000 years before present era), and have been used to study the process of domestication. Paleogenomic data showed that some of the genes controlling the stem and inflorescence architecture were comparable to modern maize, while other genes controlling ear shattering and starch biosynthesis retain high levels of variability, similar to those found in the wild relative teosinte. These results indicate that the domestication process was both gradual and complex, where different genetic loci were selected at different points in time, and that the transformation of teosinte to maize was completed in the last 5,000 years. Mesoamerican native cultures domesticated teosinte and developed maize from a 6 cm long, popping-kernel ear to what we now recognize as modern maize with its wide variety in ear size, kernel texture, color, size, and adequacy for diverse uses and also invented nixtamalization, a process key to maximizing its nutrition. Used directly for human and animal consumption, processed food products, bioenergy, and many cultural applications, it is now grown on six of the world’s seven continents. The study of its evolution and domestication from the wild grass teosinte helps us understand the nature of genetic diversity of maize and its wild relatives and gene expression. Genetic barriers to direct use of teosinte or Tripsacum in maize breeding have challenged our ability to identify valuable genes and traits, let alone incorporate them into elite, modern varieties. Genomic information and newer genetic technologies will facilitate the use of wild relatives in crop improvement; hence it is more important than ever to ensure their conservation and availability, fundamental to future food security. In situ conservation efforts dedicated to preserving remnant populations of wild relatives in Mexico are key to safeguarding the genetic diversity of maize and its genepool, as well as enabling these species to continue to adapt to dynamic climate and environmental changes. Genebank ex situ efforts are crucial to securely maintain collected wild relative resources and to provide them for gene discovery and other research efforts.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of Sequevar 14M Ralstonia solanacearum Strain HA4-1 Reveals Novel Type III Effectors Acquired Through Horizontal Gene Transfer.

Ralstonia solanacearum, which causes bacterial wilt in a broad range of plants, is considered a “species complex” due to its significant genetic diversity. Recently, we have isolated a new R. solanacearum strain HA4-1 from Hong’an county in Hubei province of China and identified it being phylotype I, sequevar 14M (phylotype I-14M). Interestingly, we found that it can cause various disease symptoms among different potato genotypes and display different pathogenic behavior compared to a phylogenetically related strain, GMI1000. To dissect the pathogenic mechanisms of HA4-1, we sequenced its whole genome by combined sequencing technologies including Illumina HiSeq2000, PacBio RS II, and BAC-end sequencing. Genome assembly results revealed the presence of a conventional chromosome, a megaplasmid as well as a 143 kb plasmid in HA4-1. Comparative genome analysis between HA4-1 and GMI1000 shows high conservation of the general virulence factors such as secretion systems, motility, exopolysaccharides (EPS), and key regulatory factors, but significant variation in the repertoire and structure of type III effectors, which could be the determinants of their differential pathogenesis in certain potato species or genotypes. We have identified two novel type III effectors that were probably acquired through horizontal gene transfer (HGT). These novel R. solanacearum effectors display homology to several YopJ and XopAC family members. We named them as RipBR and RipBS. Notably, the copy of RipBR on the plasmid is a pseudogene, while the other on the megaplasmid is normal. For RipBS, there are three copies located in the megaplasmid and plasmid, respectively. Our results have not only enriched the genome information on R. solanacearum species complex by sequencing the first sequevar 14M strain and the largest plasmid reported in R. solanacearum to date but also revealed the variation in the repertoire of type III effectors. This will greatly contribute to the future studies on the pathogenic evolution, host adaptation, and interaction between R. solanacearum and potato.


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