June 1, 2021  |  

Using whole exome sequencing and bacterial pathogen sequencing to investigate the genetic basis of pulmonary non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections.

Pulmonary non-tuberculous mycobacterial (PNTM) infections occur in patients with chronic lung disease, but also in a distinct group of elderly women without lung defects who share a common body morphology: tall and lean with scoliosis, pectus excavatum, and mitral valve prolapse. In order to characterize the human host susceptibility to PNTM, we performed whole exome sequencing (WES) of 44 individuals in extended families of patients with active PNTM as well as 55 additional unrelated individuals with PNTM. This unique collection of familial cohorts in PNTM represents an important opportunity for a high yield search for genes that regulate mucosal immunity. An average of 58 million 100bp paired-end Illumina reads per exome were generated and mapped to the hg19 reference genome. Following variant detection and classification, we identified 58,422 potentially high-impact SNPs, 97.3% of which were missense mutations. Segregating variants using the family pedigrees as well as comparisons to the unrelated individuals identified multiple potential variants associated with PNTM. Validations of these candidate variants in a larger PNTM cohort are underway. In addition to WES, we sequenced the genomes of 52 mycobacterial isolates, including 9 from these PNTM patients, to integrate host PNTM susceptibility with mycobacterial genotypes and gain insights into the key factors involved in this devastating disease. These genomes were sequenced using a combination of 454, Illumina, and PacBio platforms and assembled using multiple genome assemblers. The resulting genome sequences were used to identify mycobacterial genotypes associated with virulence, invasion, and drug resistance.


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  |  

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  |  

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  |  

Spreading Patterns of NDM-Producing Enterobacteriaceae in Clinical and Environmental Settings in Yangon, Myanmar.

The spread of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), contributing to widespread carbapenem resistance, has become a global concern. However, the specific dissemination patterns of carbapenemase genes have not been intensively investigated in developing countries, including Myanmar, where NDM-type carbapenemases are spreading in clinical settings. In the present study, we phenotypically and genetically characterized 91 CPE isolates obtained from clinical (n = 77) and environmental (n = 14) samples in Yangon, Myanmar. We determined the dissemination of plasmids harboring genes encoding NDM-1 and its variants using whole-genome sequencing and plasmid analysis. IncFII plasmids harboring blaNDM-5 and IncX3 plasmids harboring blaNDM-4 or blaNDM-7 were the most prevalent plasmid types identified among the isolates. The IncFII plasmids were predominantly carried by clinical isolates of Escherichia coli, and their clonal expansion was observed within the same ward of a hospital. In contrast, the IncX3 plasmids were found in phylogenetically divergent isolates from clinical and environmental samples classified into nine species, suggesting widespread dissemination of plasmids via horizontal transfer. Half of the environmental isolates were found to possess IncX3 plasmids, and this type of plasmid was confirmed to transfer more effectively to recipient organisms at a relatively low temperature (25°C) compared to the IncFII plasmid. Moreover, various other plasmid types were identified harboring blaNDM-1, including IncFIB, IncFII, IncL/M, and IncA/C2, among clinical isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae or Enterobacter cloacae complex. Overall, our results highlight three distinct patterns of the dissemination of blaNDM-harboring plasmids among CPE isolates in Myanmar, contributing to a better understanding of their molecular epidemiology and dissemination in a setting of endemicity.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Diverse Vectors and Mechanisms Spread New Delhi Metallo-ß-Lactamases among Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae in the Greater Boston Area.

New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamases (NDMs) are an uncommon but emerging cause of carbapenem resistance in the United States. Genomic factors promoting their domestic spread remain poorly characterized. A prospective genomic surveillance program among Boston-area hospitals identified multiple new occurrences of NDM-carrying strains of Escherichia coli and Enterobacter cloacae complex in inpatient and outpatient settings, representing the first occurrences of NDM-mediated resistance since initiating genomic surveillance in 2011. Cases included domestic patients with no international exposures. PacBio sequencing of isolates identified strain characteristics, resistance genes, and the complement of mobile vectors mediating spread. Analyses revealed a common 3,114-bp region containing the blaNDM gene, with carriage of this conserved region among unique strains by diverse transposon and plasmid backbones. Functional studies revealed a broad capacity for blaNDM transmission by conjugation, transposition, and complex interplasmid recombination events. NDMs represent a rapidly spreading form of drug resistance that can occur in inpatient and outpatient settings and in patients without international exposures. In contrast to Tn4401-based spread of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemases (KPCs), diverse transposable elements mobilize NDM enzymes, commonly with other resistance genes, enabling naive strains to acquire multi- and extensively drug-resistant profiles with single transposition or plasmid conjugation events. Genomic surveillance provides effective means to rapidly identify these gene-level drivers of resistance and mobilization in order to inform clinical decisions to prevent further spread.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome-Wide Screening for Enteric Colonization Factors in Carbapenem-Resistant ST258 Klebsiella pneumoniae.

A diverse, antibiotic-naive microbiota prevents highly antibiotic-resistant microbes, including carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CR-Kp), from achieving dense colonization of the intestinal lumen. Antibiotic-mediated destruction of the microbiota leads to expansion of CR-Kp in the gut, markedly increasing the risk of bacteremia in vulnerable patients. While preventing dense colonization represents a rational approach to reduce intra- and interpatient dissemination of CR-Kp, little is known about pathogen-associated factors that enable dense growth and persistence in the intestinal lumen. To identify genetic factors essential for dense colonization of the gut by CR-Kp, we constructed a highly saturated transposon mutant library with >150,000 unique mutations in an ST258 strain of CR-Kp and screened for in vitro growth and in vivo intestinal colonization in antibiotic-treated mice. Stochastic and partially reversible fluctuations in the representation of different mutations during dense colonization revealed the dynamic nature of intestinal microbial populations. We identified genes that are crucial for early and late stages of dense gut colonization and confirmed their role by testing isogenic mutants in in vivo competition assays with wild-type CR-Kp Screening of the transposon library also identified mutations that enhanced in vivo CR-Kp growth. These newly identified colonization factors may provide novel therapeutic opportunities to reduce intestinal colonization by CR-KpIMPORTANCEKlebsiella pneumoniae is a common cause of bloodstream infections in immunocompromised and hospitalized patients, and over the last 2 decades, some strains have acquired resistance to nearly all available antibiotics, including broad-spectrum carbapenems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae (CR-Kp) as an urgent public health threat. Dense colonization of the intestine by CR-Kp and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria is associated with an increased risk of bacteremia. Reducing the density of gut colonization by CR-Kp is likely to reduce their transmission from patient to patient in health care facilities as well as systemic infections. How CR-Kp expands and persists in the gut lumen, however, is poorly understood. Herein, we generated a highly saturated mutant library in a multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae strain and identified genetic factors that are associated with dense gut colonization by K. pneumoniae This study sheds light on host colonization by K. pneumoniae and identifies potential colonization factors that contribute to high-density persistence of K. pneumoniae in the intestine. Copyright © 2019 Jung 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  |  

Single-Molecule Sequencing: Towards Clinical Applications.

In the past several years, single-molecule sequencing platforms, such as those by Pacific Biosciences and Oxford Nanopore Technologies, have become available to researchers and are currently being tested for clinical applications. They offer exceptionally long reads that permit direct sequencing through regions of the genome inaccessible or difficult to analyze by short-read platforms. This includes disease-causing long repetitive elements, extreme GC content regions, and complex gene loci. Similarly, these platforms enable structural variation characterization at previously unparalleled resolution and direct detection of epigenetic marks in native DNA. Here, we review how these technologies are opening up new clinical avenues that are being applied to pathogenic microorganisms and viruses, constitutional disorders, pharmacogenomics, cancer, and more.Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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  |  

Molecular Epidemiology of Candida auris in Colombia Reveals a Highly Related, Countrywide Colonization With Regional Patterns in Amphotericin B Resistance.

Candida auris is a multidrug-resistant yeast associated with hospital outbreaks worldwide. During 2015-2016, multiple outbreaks were reported in Colombia. We aimed to understand the extent of contamination in healthcare settings and to characterize the molecular epidemiology of C. auris in Colombia.We sampled patients, patient contacts, healthcare workers, and the environment in 4 hospitals with recent C. auris outbreaks. Using standardized protocols, people were swabbed at different body sites. Patient and procedure rooms were sectioned into 4 zones and surfaces were swabbed. We performed whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and antifungal susceptibility testing (AFST) on all isolates.Seven of the 17 (41%) people swabbed were found to be colonized. Candida auris was isolated from 37 of 322 (11%) environmental samples. These were collected from a variety of items in all 4 zones. WGS and AFST revealed that although isolates were similar throughout the country, isolates from the northern region were genetically distinct and more resistant to amphotericin B (AmB) than the isolates from central Colombia. Four novel nonsynonymous mutations were found to be significantly associated with AmB resistance.Our results show that extensive C. auris contamination can occur and highlight the importance of adherence to appropriate infection control practices and disinfection strategies. Observed genetic diversity supports healthcare transmission and a recent expansion of C. auris within Colombia with divergent AmB susceptibility.


April 21, 2020  |  

New genetic context of lnu(B) composed of two multi-resistance gene clusters in clinical Streptococcus agalactiae ST-19 strains.

Clindamycin is a lincosamide antibiotic used to treat staphylococcal and streptococcal infections. Reports of clinical Streptococcus agalactiae isolates with the rare lincosamide resistance/macrolide susceptibility (LR/MS) phenotype are increasing worldwide. In this study, we characterised three clinical S. agalactiae strains with the unusual L phenotype from China.Three clinical S. agalactiae strains, Sag3, Sag27 and Sag4104, with the L phenotype were identified from 186 isolates collected from 2016 to 2018 in Shanghai, China. The MICs of clindamycin, erythromycin, tetracycline, levofloxacin, and penicillin were determined using Etest. PCR for the lnu(B) gene was conducted. Whole genome sequencing and sequence analysis were carried out to investigate the genetic context of lnu(B). Efforts to transfer lincomycin resistance by conjugation and to identify the circular form by inverse PCR were made.Sag3, Sag27, and Sag4104 were susceptible to erythromycin (MIC =0.25?mg/L) but resistant to clindamycin (MIC =1?mg/L). lnu(B) was found to be responsible for the L phenotype. lnu(B) in Sag3 and Sag27 were chromosomally located in an aadE-spw-lsa(E)-lnu(B) resistance gene cluster adjacent to an upstream 7-kb tet(L)-cat resistance gene cluster. Two resistance gene clusters were flanked by the IS6-like element, IS1216. Sag4104 only contained partial genes of aadE-spw-lsa(E)-lnu(B) resistance gene cluster and was also flanked by IS1216.These results established the presence of the L phenotype associated with lnu(B) in clinical S. agalactiae isolates in China. The lnu(B)-containing multi-resistance gene cluster possibly acts as a composite transposon flanked by IS1216 and as a vehicle for the dissemination of multidrug resistance among S. agalactiae.


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