April 21, 2020  |  

The use of Online Tools for Antimicrobial Resistance Prediction by Whole Genome Sequencing in MRSA and VRE.

The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis represents a serious threat to public health and has resulted in concentrated efforts to accelerate development of rapid molecular diagnostics for AMR. In combination with publicly-available web-based AMR databases, whole genome sequencing (WGS) offers the capacity for rapid detection of antibiotic resistance genes. Here we studied the concordance between WGS-based resistance prediction and phenotypic susceptibility testing results for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin resistant Enterococcus (VRE) clinical isolates using publicly-available tools and databases.Clinical isolates prospectively collected at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between December 2016 and December 2017 underwent WGS. Antibiotic resistance gene content was assessed from assembled genomes by BLASTn search of online databases. Concordance between WGS-predicted resistance profile and phenotypic susceptibility as well as sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values (NPV, PPV) were calculated for each antibiotic/organism combination, using the phenotypic results as the gold standard.Phenotypic susceptibility testing and WGS results were available for 1242 isolate/antibiotic combinations. Overall concordance was 99.3% with a sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV of 98.7% (95% CI, 97.2-99.5%), 99.6% (95 % CI, 98.8-99.9%), 99.3% (95% CI, 98.0-99.8%), 99.2% (95% CI, 98.3-99.7%), respectively. Additional identification of point mutations in housekeeping genes increased the concordance to 99.4% and the sensitivity to 99.3% (95% CI, 98.2-99.8%) and NPV to 99.4% (95% CI, 98.4-99.8%).WGS can be used as a reliable predicator of phenotypic resistance for both MRSA and VRE using readily-available online tools.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

hicap: In Silico Serotyping of the Haemophilus influenzae Capsule Locus.

Haemophilus influenzae exclusively colonizes the human nasopharynx and can cause a variety of respiratory infections as well as invasive diseases, including meningitis and sepsis. A key virulence determinant of H. influenzae is the polysaccharide capsule, of which six serotypes are known, each encoded by a distinct variation of the capsule biosynthesis locus (cap-a to cap-f). H. influenzae type b (Hib) was historically responsible for the majority of invasive H. influenzae disease, and its prevalence has been markedly reduced in countries that have implemented vaccination programs targeting this serotype. In the postvaccine era, nontypeable H. influenzae emerged as the most dominant group causing disease, but in recent years a resurgence of encapsulated H. influenzae strains has also been observed, most notably serotype a. Given the increasing incidence of encapsulated strains and the high frequency of Hib in countries without vaccination programs, there is growing interest in genomic epidemiology of H. influenzae Here we present hicap, a software tool for rapid in silico serotype prediction from H. influenzae genome sequences. hicap is written using Python3 and is freely available at https://github.com/scwatts/hicap under the GNU General Public License v3 (GPL3). To demonstrate the utility of hicap, we used it to investigate the cap locus diversity and distribution in 691 high-quality H. influenzae genomes from GenBank. These analyses identified cap loci in 95 genomes and confirmed the general association of each serotype with a unique clonal lineage, and they also identified occasional recombination between lineages that gave rise to hybrid cap loci (2% of encapsulated strains).Copyright © 2019 Watts and Holt.


April 21, 2020  |  

Klebsiella quasipneumoniae Provides a Window into Carbapenemase Gene Transfer, Plasmid Rearrangements, and Patient Interactions with the Hospital Environment.

Several emerging pathogens have arisen as a result of selection pressures exerted by modern health care. Klebsiella quasipneumoniae was recently defined as a new species, yet its prevalence, niche, and propensity to acquire antimicrobial resistance genes are not fully described. We have been tracking inter- and intraspecies transmission of the Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) gene, blaKPC, between bacteria isolated from a single institution. We applied a combination of Illumina and PacBio whole-genome sequencing to identify and compare K. quasipneumoniae from patients and the hospital environment over 10- and 5-year periods, respectively. There were 32 blaKPC-positive K. quasipneumoniae isolates, all of which were identified as K. pneumoniae in the clinical microbiology laboratory, from 8 patients and 11 sink drains, with evidence for seven separate blaKPC plasmid acquisitions. Analysis of a single subclade of K. quasipneumoniae subsp. quasipneumoniae (n?=?23 isolates) from three patients and six rooms demonstrated seeding of a sink by a patient, subsequent persistence of the strain in the hospital environment, and then possible transmission to another patient. Longitudinal analysis of this strain demonstrated the acquisition of two unique blaKPC plasmids and then subsequent within-strain genetic rearrangement through transposition and homologous recombination. Our analysis highlights the apparent molecular propensity of K. quasipneumoniae to persist in the environment as well as acquire carbapenemase plasmids from other species and enabled an assessment of the genetic rearrangements which may facilitate horizontal transmission of carbapenemases. Copyright © 2019 Mathers et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Detection of VIM-1-Producing Enterobacter cloacae and Salmonella enterica Serovars Infantis and Goldcoast at a Breeding Pig Farm in Germany in 2017 and Their Molecular Relationship to Former VIM-1-Producing S. Infantis Isolates in German Livestock Production.

In 2011, VIM-1-producing Salmonella enterica serovar Infantis and Escherichia coli were isolated for the first time in four German livestock farms. In 2015/2016, highly related isolates were identified in German pig production. This raised the issue of potential reservoirs for these isolates, the relation of their mobile genetic elements, and potential links between the different affected farms/facilities. In a piglet-producing farm suspicious for being linked to some blaVIM-1 findings in Germany, fecal and environmental samples were examined for the presence of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae and Salmonella spp. Newly discovered isolates were subjected to Illumina whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and S1 pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) hybridization experiments. WGS data of these isolates were compared with those for the previously isolated VIM-1-producing Salmonella Infantis isolates from pigs and poultry. Among 103 samples, one Salmonella Goldcoast isolate, one Salmonella Infantis isolate, and one Enterobacter cloacae isolate carrying the blaVIM-1 gene were detected. Comparative WGS analysis revealed that the blaVIM-1 gene was part of a particular Tn21-like transposable element in all isolates. It was located on IncHI2 (ST1) plasmids of ~290 to 300?kb with a backbone highly similar (98 to 100%) to that of reference pSE15-SA01028. SNP analysis revealed a close relationship of all VIM-1-positive S Infantis isolates described since 2011. The findings of this study demonstrate that the occurrence of the blaVIM-1 gene in German livestock is restricted neither to a certain bacterial species nor to a certain Salmonella serovar but is linked to a particular Tn21-like transposable element located on transferable pSE15-SA01028-like IncHI2 (ST1) plasmids, being present in all of the investigated isolates from 2011 to 2017.IMPORTANCE Carbapenems are considered one of few remaining treatment options against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens in human clinical settings. The occurrence of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in livestock and food is a major public health concern. Particularly the occurrence of VIM-1-producing Salmonella Infantis in livestock farms is worrisome, as this zoonotic pathogen is one of the main causes for human salmonellosis in Europe. Investigations on the epidemiology of those carbapenemase-producing isolates and associated mobile genetic elements through an in-depth molecular characterization are indispensable to understand the transmission of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae along the food chain and between different populations to develop strategies to prevent their further spread.Copyright © 2019 Roschanski et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Finding the needle in a haystack: Mapping antifungal drug resistance in fungal pathogen by genomic approaches.

Fungi are ubiquitous on earth and are essential for the maintenance of the global ecological equilibrium. Despite providing benefits to living organisms, they can also target specific hosts and inflict damage. These fungal pathogens are known to affect, for example, plants and mam- mals and thus reduce crop production necessary to sustain food supply and cause mortality in humans and animals. Designing defenses against these fungi is essential for the control of food resources and human health. As far as fungal pathogens are concerned, the principal option has been the use of antifungal agents, also called fungicides when they are used in the environment.


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  |  

Emergence of a ST2570 Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate carrying mcr-1 and blaCTX-M-14 recovered from a bloodstream infection in China.

The worldwide emergence of the plasmid-borne colistin resistance mediated by mcr-1 gene not only extended our knowledge on colistin resistance, but also poses a serious threat to clinical and public health [1, 2]. Since its first discovery, mcr-1-carrying Enterobacteriaceae from human, animal, food, and environmental origins have been widely identified, but few mcr-1-positive clinical strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae have been reported so far, especially when associated with community-acquired infections [3, 4]. Here, we report the emergence of a colistin-resistant K. pneumoniae isolate, which belonged to a rare sporadic clone, co-carrying mcr-1 and blaCTX-M-14 genes simultaneous recovered from a community-acquired bloodstream infection in China. Whole-genome sequencing and microbiological analysis were performed to elucidate its antimicrobial resistance mechanisms.


April 21, 2020  |  

Retrospective whole-genome sequencing analysis distinguished PFGE and drug-resistance-matched retail meat and clinical Salmonella isolates.

Non-typhoidal Salmonella is a leading cause of outbreak and sporadic-associated foodborne illnesses in the United States. These infections have been associated with a range of foods, including retail meats. Traditionally, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) have been used to facilitate public health investigations of Salmonella infections. However, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has emerged as an alternative tool that can be routinely implemented. To assess its potential in enhancing integrated surveillance in Pennsylvania, USA, WGS was used to directly compare the genetic characteristics of 7 retail meat and 43 clinical historic Salmonella isolates, subdivided into 3 subsets based on PFGE and AST results, to retrospectively resolve their genetic relatedness and identify antimicrobial resistance (AMR) determinants. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses revealed that the retail meat isolates within S. Heidelberg, S. Typhimurium var. O5- subset 1 and S. Typhimurium var. O5- subset 2 were separated from each primary PFGE pattern-matched clinical isolate by 6-12, 41-96 and 21-81 SNPs, respectively. Fifteen resistance genes were identified across all isolates, including fosA7, a gene only recently found in a limited number of Salmonella and a =95?%?phenotype to genotype correlation was observed for all tested antimicrobials. Moreover, AMR was primarily plasmid-mediated in S. Heidelberg and S. Typhimurium var. O5- subset 2, whereas AMR was chromosomally carried in S. Typhimurium var. O5- subset 1. Similar plasmids were identified in both the retail meat and clinical isolates. Collectively, these data highlight the utility of WGS in retrospective analyses and enhancing integrated surveillance for Salmonella from multiple sources.


April 21, 2020  |  

Clonal expansion and spread of the ceftriaxone-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae strain FC428, identified in Japan in 2015, and closely related isolates.

Ceftriaxone resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a major public health concern globally because a high-dose (1?g) injection of ceftriaxone is the only remaining option for empirical monotherapy of gonorrhoea. The ceftriaxone-resistant gonococcal strain FC428, cultured in Osaka in 2015, is suspected to have spread nationally and internationally. We describe the complete finished genomes of FC428 and two closely related isolates from Osaka in 2015, and examine the genomic epidemiology of these isolates plus three ceftriaxone-resistant gonococcal isolates from Osaka and Hyogo in 2016-17 and four ceftriaxone-resistant gonococcal isolates cultured in 2017 in Australia, Canada and Denmark.During 2015-17, we identified six ceftriaxone-resistant gonococcal isolates through our surveillance systems in Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (six antimicrobials) was performed using Etest. Complete whole-genome sequences of the first three isolates (FC428, FC460 and FC498) from 2015 were obtained using PacBio RS II and Illumina MiSeq sequencing. The three complete genome sequences and draft genome sequences of the three additional Japanese (sequenced with Illumina MiSeq) and four international ceftriaxone-resistant isolates were compared.Detailed genomic analysis suggested that the Japanese isolates (FC428, FC460, FC498, KU16054, KM383 and KU17039) and the four international MLST ST1903 isolates from Australia, Canada and Denmark formed four linked subclades.Using detailed genomic analysis, we describe the clonal expansion of the ceftriaxone-resistant N. gonorrhoeae strain FC428, initially identified in 2015 in Japan, and closely related isolates. FC428 and its close relatives show some genomic diversity, suggesting multiple genetic subclades are already spreading internationally. © 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  |  

WGS of 1058 Enterococcus faecium from Copenhagen, Denmark, reveals rapid clonal expansion of vancomycin-resistant clone ST80 combined with widespread dissemination of a vanA-containing plasmid and acquisition of a heterogeneous accessory genome.

From 2012 to 2015, a sudden significant increase in vancomycin-resistant (vanA) Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) was observed in the Capital Region of Denmark. Clonal relatedness of VREfm and vancomycin-susceptible E. faecium (VSEfm) was investigated, transmission events between hospitals were identified and the pan-genome and plasmids from the largest VREfm clonal group were characterized.WGS of 1058 E. faecium isolates was carried out on the Illumina platform to perform SNP analysis and to identify the pan-genome. One isolate was also sequenced on the PacBio platform to close the genome. Epidemiological data were collected from laboratory information systems.Phylogeny of 892 VREfm and 166 VSEfm revealed a polyclonal structure, with a single clonal group (ST80) accounting for 40% of the VREfm isolates. VREfm and VSEfm co-occurred within many clonal groups; however, no VSEfm were related to the dominant VREfm group. A similar vanA plasmid was identified in =99% of isolates belonging to the dominant group and 69% of the remaining VREfm. Ten plasmids were identified in the completed genome, and ~29% of this genome consisted of dispensable accessory genes. The size of the pan-genome among isolates in the dominant group was 5905 genes.Most probably, VREfm emerged owing to importation of a successful VREfm clone which rapidly transmitted to the majority of hospitals in the region whilst simultaneously disseminating a vanA plasmid to pre-existing VSEfm. Acquisition of a heterogeneous accessory genome may account for the success of this clone by facilitating adaptation to new environmental challenges. © 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  |  

An African Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 sublineage with extensive drug-resistance and signatures of host adaptation.

Bloodstream infections by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium constitute a major health burden in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). These invasive non-typhoidal (iNTS) infections are dominated by isolates of the antibiotic resistance-associated sequence type (ST) 313. Here, we report emergence of ST313 sublineage II.1 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sublineage II.1 exhibits extensive drug resistance, involving a combination of multidrug resistance, extended spectrum ß-lactamase production and azithromycin resistance. ST313 lineage II.1 isolates harbour an IncHI2 plasmid we name pSTm-ST313-II.1, with one isolate also exhibiting decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility. Whole genome sequencing reveals that ST313 II.1 isolates have accumulated genetic signatures potentially associated with altered pathogenicity and host adaptation, related to changes observed in biofilm formation and metabolic capacity. Sublineage II.1 emerged at the beginning of the 21st century and is involved in on-going outbreaks. Our data provide evidence of further evolution within the ST313 clade associated with iNTS in SSA.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome plasticity favours double chromosomal Tn4401b-blaKPC-2 transposon insertion in the Pseudomonas aeruginosa ST235 clone.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa Sequence Type 235 is a clone that possesses an extraordinary ability to acquire mobile genetic elements and has been associated with the spread of resistance genes, including genes that encode for carbapenemases. Here, we aim to characterize the genetic platforms involved in resistance dissemination in blaKPC-2-positive P. aeruginosa ST235 in Colombia.In a prospective surveillance study of infections in adult patients attended in five ICUs in five distant cities in Colombia, 58 isolates of P. aeruginosa were recovered, of which, 27 (46.6%) were resistant to carbapenems. The molecular analysis showed that 6 (22.2%) and 4 (14.8%) isolates harboured the blaVIM and blaKPC-2 genes, respectively. The four blaKPC-2-positive isolates showed a similar PFGE pulsotype and belonged to ST235. Complete genome sequencing of a representative ST235 isolate shows a unique chromosomal contig of 7097.241?bp with eight different resistance genes identified and five transposons: a Tn6162-like with ant(2?)-Ia, two Tn402-like with ant(3?)-Ia and blaOXA-2 and two Tn4401b with blaKPC-2. All transposons were inserted into the genomic islands. Interestingly, the two Tn4401b copies harbouring blaKPC-2 were adjacently inserted into a new genomic island (PAGI-17) with traces of a replicative transposition process. This double insertion was probably driven by several structural changes within the chromosomal region containing PAGI-17 in the ST235 background.This is the first report of a double Tn4401b chromosomal insertion in P. aeruginosa, just within a new genomic island (PAGI-17). This finding indicates once again the great genomic plasticity of this microorganism.


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