April 21, 2020  |  

Evolution of a 72-kb cointegrant, conjugative multiresistance plasmid from early community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates.

Horizontal transfer of plasmids encoding antimicrobial-resistance and virulence determinants has been instrumental in Staphylococcus aureus evolution, including the emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA). In the early 1990s the first CA-MRSA isolated in Western Australia (WA), WA-5, encoded cadmium, tetracycline and penicillin-resistance genes on plasmid pWBG753 (~30 kb). WA-5 and pWBG753 appeared only briefly in WA, however, fusidic-acid-resistance plasmids related to pWBG753 were also present in the first European CA-MRSA at the time. Here we characterized a 72-kb conjugative plasmid pWBG731 present in multiresistant WA-5-like clones from the same period. pWBG731 was a cointegrant formed from pWBG753 and a pWBG749-family conjugative plasmid. pWBG731 carried mupirocin, trimethoprim, cadmium and penicillin-resistance genes. The stepwise evolution of pWBG731 likely occurred through the combined actions of IS257, IS257-dependent miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) and the BinL resolution system of the ß-lactamase transposon Tn552 An evolutionary intermediate ~42-kb non-conjugative plasmid pWBG715, possessed the same resistance genes as pWBG731 but retained an integrated copy of the small tetracycline-resistance plasmid pT181. IS257 likely facilitated replacement of pT181 with conjugation genes on pWBG731, thus enabling autonomous transfer. Like conjugative plasmid pWBG749, pWBG731 also mobilized non-conjugative plasmids carrying oriT mimics. It seems likely that pWBG731 represents the product of multiple recombination events between the WA-5 pWBG753 plasmid and other mobile genetic elements present in indigenous CA-MSSA. The molecular evolution of pWBG731 saliently illustrates how diverse mobile genetic elements can together facilitate rapid accrual and horizontal dissemination of multiresistance in S. aureus CA-MRSA.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


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  |  

Complete Genome Sequences of Two USA300-Related Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Clinical Isolates.

USA300 is a predominant community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain causing significant morbidity and mortality in North America. We present the full annotated genome sequences of two methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates related to the USA300 pulsotype with the goal of studying the evolutionary relationships of this highly successful strain type.Copyright © 2019 McClure and Zhang.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequences of Two Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Clinical Strains Closely Related to Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus USA300.

Predominant community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain USA300 is believed to have originated from an ancestral methicillin-susceptible strain, although the details of that evolution remain unknown. To help understand the emergence of this highly successful strain, we sequenced the genomes of two methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus clinical strains that are very closely related to USA300. Copyright © 2019 McClure and Zhang.


April 21, 2020  |  

Remodeling of pSK1 Family Plasmids and Enhanced Chlorhexidine Tolerance in a Dominant Hospital Lineage of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus is a significant human pathogen whose evolution and adaptation have been shaped in part by mobile genetic elements (MGEs), facilitating the global spread of extensive antimicrobial resistance. However, our understanding of the evolutionary dynamics surrounding MGEs, in particular, how changes in the structure of multidrug resistance (MDR) plasmids may influence important staphylococcal phenotypes, is incomplete. Here, we undertook a population and functional genomics study of 212 methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) sequence type 239 (ST239) isolates collected over 32?years to explore the evolution of the pSK1 family of MDR plasmids, illustrating how these plasmids have coevolved with and contributed to the successful adaptation of this persistent MRSA lineage. Using complete genomes and temporal phylogenomics, we reconstructed the evolution of the pSK1 family lineage from its emergence in the late 1970s and found that multiple structural variants have arisen. Plasmid maintenance and stability were linked to IS256- and IS257-mediated chromosomal integration and disruption of the plasmid replication machinery. Overlaying genomic comparisons with phenotypic susceptibility data for gentamicin, trimethoprim, and chlorhexidine, it appeared that pSK1 has contributed to enhanced resistance in ST239 MRSA isolates through two mechanisms: (i) acquisition of plasmid-borne resistance mechanisms increasing the rates of gentamicin resistance and reduced chlorhexidine susceptibility and (ii) changes in the plasmid configuration linked with further enhancement of chlorhexidine tolerance. While the exact mechanism of enhanced tolerance remains elusive, this research has uncovered a potential evolutionary response of ST239 MRSA to biocides, one of which may contribute to the ongoing persistence and adaptation of this lineage within health care institutions. Copyright © 2019 Baines et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Sequential evolution of virulence and resistance during clonal spread of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

The past two decades have witnessed an alarming expansion of staphylococcal disease caused by community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA). The factors underlying the epidemic expansion of CA-MRSA lineages such as USA300, the predominant CA-MRSA clone in the United States, are largely unknown. Previously described virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes that promote the dissemination of CA-MRSA are carried by mobile genetic elements, including phages and plasmids. Here, we used high-resolution genomics and experimental infections to characterize the evolution of a USA300 variant plaguing a patient population at increased risk of infection to understand the mechanisms underlying the emergence of genetic elements that facilitate clonal spread of the pathogen. Genetic analyses provided conclusive evidence that fitness (manifest as emergence of a dominant clone) changed coincidently with the stepwise emergence of (i) a unique prophage and mutation of the regulator of the pyrimidine nucleotide biosynthetic operon that promoted abscess formation and colonization, respectively, thereby priming the clone for success; and (ii) a unique plasmid that conferred resistance to two topical microbiocides, mupirocin and chlorhexidine, frequently used for decolonization and infection prevention. The resistance plasmid evolved through successive incorporation of DNA elements from non-S. aureus spp. into an indigenous cryptic plasmid, suggesting a mechanism for interspecies genetic exchange that promotes antimicrobial resistance. Collectively, the data suggest that clonal spread in a vulnerable population resulted from extensive clinical intervention and intense selection pressure toward a pathogen lifestyle that involved the evolution of consequential mutations and mobile genetic elements.


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.


April 21, 2020  |  

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Blood Isolates Harboring a Novel Pseudo-staphylococcal Cassette Chromosome mec Element.

The aim of this work was to assess a novel pseudo-staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (?SCCmec) element in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood isolates. Community-associated MRSA E16SA093 and healthcare-associated MRSA F17SA003 isolates were recovered from the blood specimens of patients with S. aureus bacteremia in 2016 and in 2017, respectively. Antimicrobial susceptibility was determined via the disk diffusion method, and SCCmec typing was conducted by multiplex polymerase chain reaction. Whole genome sequencing was carried out by single molecule real-time long-read sequencing. Both isolates belonged to sequence type 72 and agr-type I, and they were negative for Panton-Valentine leukocidin and toxic shock syndrome toxin. The spa-types of E16SA093 and F17SA003 were t324 and t2460, respectively. They had a SCCmec IV-like element devoid of the cassette chromosome recombinase (ccr) gene complex, designated as ?SCCmecE16SA093. The element was manufactured from SCCmec type IV and the deletion of the ccr gene complex and a 7.0- and 31.9-kb portion of each chromosome. The deficiency of the ccr gene complex in the SCCmec unit is likely resulting in mobility loss, which would be an adaptive evolutionary mechanism. The dissemination of this clone should be monitored closely.


September 22, 2019  |  

Reduction in fecal microbiota diversity and short-chain fatty acid producers in Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infected individuals as revealed by PacBio single molecule, real-time sequencing technology.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may cause potentially lethal infections. Increasing evidence suggests that the gut microbiota is associated with human health. Yet, whether patients with MRSA infections carry specific signatures in their fecal microbiota composition has not been determined. Thus, this study aimed to compare the fecal microbiota profile of MRSA-positive patients (n=15) with individuals without MRSA infection (n=15) by using the PacBio single molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing system and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Mann-Whitney tests and unweighted UniFrac principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) showed that the profile of fecal microbiota was apparently different between the two populations. Both the community richness and diversity were reduced in the MRSA-positive group (p<0.050). The genera Acinetobacter and Enterococcus were highly enriched in the MRSA-positive group, whereas less short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing bacteria, including Butyricimonas, Faecalibacterium, Roseburia, Ruminococcus, Megamonas and Phascolarctobacterium, were detected in the MRSA-positive group. At species level, the species Acinetobacter baumannii and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron were prevalent in the MRSA-positive group, whereas opposite trends were observed in 17 other species, such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Lactobacillus rogosae, Megamonas rupellensis and Phascolarctobacterium faecium. Positive correlations were observed between Acinetobacter baumannii and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (R=0.554, p=0.001), as well as hypersensitive C reactive protein (hsCRP) (R=0.406, p=0.026). Faecalibacterium prausnitzii was negatively associated with ESR (R=-0.545, p=0.002), hsCRP (R=-0.401, p=0.028) and total bile acids (TBA) (R=-0.364, p=0.048). In conclusion, the fecal microbiota structure was different between MRSA-positive and -negative patients. The increase in potential pathogens with the reduction of beneficial populations, such as SCFA-producing bacteria, in MRSA-positive patients may affect prognosis.


September 22, 2019  |  

Convergent evolution driven by rifampin exacerbates the global burden of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Mutations in the beta-subunit of bacterial RNA polymerase (RpoB) cause resistance to rifampin (Rifr), a critical antibiotic for treatment of multidrug-resistantStaphylococcus aureus.In vitrostudies have shown that RpoB mutations confer decreased susceptibility to other antibiotics, but the clinical relevance is unknown. Here, by analyzing 7,099S. aureusgenomes, we demonstrate that the most prevalent RpoB mutations promote clinically relevant phenotypic plasticity resulting in the emergence of stableS. aureuslineages, associated with increased risk of therapeutic failure through generation of small-colony variants (SCVs) and coresistance to last-line antimicrobial agents. We found eight RpoB mutations that accounted for 93% (469/505) of the total number of Rifrmutations. The most frequently selected amino acid substitutions affecting residue 481 (H481N/Y) were associated with worldwide expansions of Rifrclones spanning decades. Recreating the H481N/Y mutations confirmed no impact onS. aureusgrowth, but the H481N mutation promoted the emergence of a subpopulation of stable RifrSCVs with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin and daptomycin. Recreating the other frequent RpoB mutations showed similar impacts on resistance to these last-line agents. We found that 86% of all Rifrisolates in our global sample carried the mutations promoting cross-resistance to vancomycin and 52% to both vancomycin and daptomycin. As four of the most frequent RpoB mutations confer only low-level Rifr, equal to or below some international breakpoints, we recommend decreasing these breakpoints and reconsidering the appropriate use of rifampin to reduce the fixation and spread of these clinically deleterious mutations. IMPORTANCE Increasing antibiotic resistance in the major human pathogenStaphylococcus aureusis threatening the ability to treat patients with these infections. Recent laboratory studies suggest that mutations in the gene commonly associated with rifampin resistance may also impact susceptibility to other last-line antibiotics inS. aureus; however, the overall frequency and clinical impact of these mutations are unknown. By mining a global collection of clinicalS. aureusgenomes and by mutagenesis experiments, this work reveals that common rifampin-inducedrpoBmutations promote phenotypic plasticity that has led to the global emergence of stable, multidrug-resistantS. aureuslineages that are associated with increased risk of therapeutic failure through coresistance to other last-line antimicrobials. We recommend decreasing susceptibility breakpoints for rifampin to allow phenotypic detection of criticalrpoBmutations conferring low resistance to rifampin and reconsidering the appropriate use of rifampin to reduce the fixation and spread of these deleterious mutations globally.


September 22, 2019  |  

Plasmid-encoded transferable mecB-mediated methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus.

During cefoxitin-based nasal screening, phenotypically categorized methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was isolated and tested negative for the presence of the mecA and mecC genes as well as for the SCCmec-orfX junction region. The isolate was found to carry a mecB gene previously described for Macrococcus caseolyticus but not for staphylococcal species. The gene is flanked by ß-lactam regulatory genes similar to mecR, mecI, and blaZ and is part of an 84.6-kb multidrug-resistance plasmid that harbors genes encoding additional resistances to aminoglycosides (aacA-aphD, aphA, and aadK) as well as macrolides (ermB) and tetracyclines (tetS). This further plasmidborne ß-lactam resistance mechanism harbors the putative risk of acceleration or reacceleration of MRSA spread, resulting in broad ineffectiveness of ß-lactams as a main therapeutic application against staphylococcal infections.


September 22, 2019  |  

Characterization and heterologous expression of the neoabyssomicin/abyssomicin biosynthetic gene cluster from Streptomyces koyangensis SCSIO 5802.

The deep-sea-derived microbe Streptomyces koyangensis SCSIO 5802 produces neoabyssomicins A-B (1-2) and abyssomicins 2 (3) and 4 (4). Neoabyssomicin A (1) augments human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) replication whereas abyssomicin 2 (3) selectively reactivates latent HIV and is also active against Gram-positive pathogens including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Structurally, neoabyssomicins A-B constitute a new subtype within the abyssomicin family and feature unique structural traits characteristic of extremely interesting biosynthetic transformations.In this work, the biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) for the neoabyssomicins and abyssomicins, composed of 28 opening reading frames, was identified in S. koyangensis SCSIO 5802, and its role in neoabyssomicin/abyssomicin biosynthesis was confirmed via gene inactivation and heterologous expression experiments. Bioinformatics and genomics analyses enabled us to propose a biosynthetic pathway for neoabyssomicin/abyssomicin biosynthesis. Similarly, a protective export system by which both types of compounds are secreted from the S. koyangensis producer was identified, as was a four-component ABC transporter-based import system central to neoabyssomicin/abyssomicin biosynthesis. Furthermore, two regulatory genes, abmI and abmH, were unambiguously shown to be positive regulators of neoabyssomicin/abyssomicin biosynthesis. Consistent with their roles as positive regulatory genes, the overexpression of abmI and abmH (independent of each other) was shown to improve neoabyssomicin/abyssomicin titers.These studies provide new insight into the biosynthesis of the abyssomicin class of natural products, and highlight important exploitable features of its BGC for future efforts. Elucidation of the neoabyssomicin/abyssomicin BGC now enables combinatorial biosynthetic initiatives aimed at improving both the titers and pharmaceutical properties of these important natural products-based drug leads.


September 22, 2019  |  

Structure and biosynthesis of mayamycin B, a new polyketide with antibacterial activity from Streptomyces sp. 120454.

Mayamycin B, a new antibacterial type II polyketide, together with its known congener mayamycin A, were isolated from Streptomyces sp. 120454. The structure of new compound was elucidated by extensive spectroscopic analysis and comparison with literature data. Sequencing and bioinformatics analysis revealed the biosynthetic gene cluster for mayamycins A and B.


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