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  |  

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  |  

Detection of transferable oxazolidinone resistance determinants in Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium of swine origin in Sichuan Province, China.

The aim of this study was to detect the transferable oxazolidinone resistance determinants (cfr, optrA and poxtA) in E. faecalis and E. faecium of swine origin in Sichuan Province, China.A total of 158 enterococci strains (93 E. faecalis and 65 E. faecium) isolated from 25 large-scale swine farms were screened for the presence of cfr, optrA and poxtA by PCR. The genetic environments of cfr, optrA and poxtA were characterized by whole genome sequencing. Transfer of oxazolidinone resistance determinants was determined by conjugation or electrotransformation experiments.The transferable oxazolidinone resistance determinants, cfr, optrA and poxtA, were detected in zero, six, and one enterococci strains, respectively. The poxtA in one E. faecalis strain was located on a 37,990 bp plasmid, which co-harbored fexB, cat, tet(L) and tet(M), and could be conjugated to E. faecalis JH2-2. One E. faecalis strain harbored two different OptrA variants, including one variant with a single substitution, Q219H, which has not been reported previously. Two optrA-carrying plasmids, pC25-1, with a size of 45,581 bp, and pC54, with a size of 64,500 bp, shared a 40,494 bp identical region that contained genetic context IS1216E-fexA-optrA-erm(A)-IS1216E, which could be electrotransformed into Staphylococcus aureus. Four different chromosomal optrA gene clusters were found in five strains, in which optrA was associated with Tn554 or Tn558 that were inserted into the radC gene.Our study highlights the fact that mobile genetic elements, such as plasmids, IS1216E, Tn554 and Tn558, may facilitate the horizontal transmission of optrA or poxtA.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


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  |  

Advantage of the F2:A1:B- IncF Pandemic Plasmid over IncC Plasmids in In Vitro Acquisition and Evolution of blaCTX-M Gene-Bearing Plasmids in Escherichia coli.

Despite a fitness cost imposed on bacterial hosts, large conjugative plasmids play a key role in the diffusion of resistance determinants, such as CTX-M extended-spectrum ß-lactamases. Among the large conjugative plasmids, IncF plasmids are the most predominant group, and an F2:A1:B- IncF-type plasmid encoding a CTX-M-15 variant was recently described as being strongly associated with the emerging worldwide Escherichia coli sequence type 131 (ST131)-O25b:H4 H30Rx/C2 sublineage. In this context, we investigated the fitness cost of narrow-range F-type plasmids, including the F2:A1:B- IncF-type CTX-M-15 plasmid, and of broad-range C-type plasmids in the K-12-like J53-2 E. coli strain. Although all plasmids imposed a significant fitness cost to the bacterial host immediately after conjugation, we show, using an experimental-evolution approach, that a negative impact on the fitness of the host strain was maintained throughout 1,120 generations with the IncC-IncR plasmid, regardless of the presence or absence of cefotaxime, in contrast to the F2:A1:B- IncF plasmid, whose cost was alleviated. Many chromosomal and plasmid rearrangements were detected after conjugation in transconjugants carrying the IncC plasmids but not in transconjugants carrying the F2:A1:B- IncF plasmid, except for insertion sequence (IS) mobilization from the fliM gene leading to the restoration of motility of the recipient strains. Only a few mutations occurred on the chromosome of each transconjugant throughout the experimental-evolution assay. Our findings indicate that the F2:A1:B- IncF CTX-M-15 plasmid is well adapted to the E. coli strain studied, contrary to the IncC-IncR CTX-M-15 plasmid, and that such plasmid-host adaptation could participate in the evolutionary success of the CTX-M-15-producing pandemic E. coli ST131-O25b:H4 lineage.Copyright © 2019 Mahérault et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Tn6674 Is a Novel Enterococcal optrA-Carrying Multiresistance Transposon of the Tn554 Family.

The novel 12,932-bp nonconjugative multiresistance transposon Tn6674 was identified in the chromosomal DNA of a porcine Enterococcus faecalis strain. Tn6674 belongs to the Tn554 family of transposons. It shares the same arrangement of the transposase genes tnpA, tnpB, and tnpC with Tn554 However, in addition to the Tn554-associated resistance genes spc and erm(A), Tn6674 harbored the resistance genes fexA and optrA Circular forms of Tn6674 were detected and suggest the functional activity of this transposon.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Novel trimethoprim resistance gene dfrA34 identified in Salmonella Heidelberg in the USA.

Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole is a synthetic antibiotic combination recommended for the treatment of complicated non-typhoidal Salmonella infections in humans. Resistance to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole is mediated by the acquisition of mobile genes, requiring both a dfr gene (trimethoprim resistance) and a sul gene (sulfamethoxazole resistance) for a clinical resistance phenotype (MIC =4/76?mg/L). In 2017, the CDC investigated a multistate outbreak caused by a Salmonella enterica serotype Heidelberg strain with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance, in which sul genes but no known dfr genes were detected.To characterize and describe the molecular mechanism of trimethoprim resistance in a Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak isolate.Illumina sequencing data for one outbreak isolate revealed a 588?bp ORF encoding a putative dfr gene. This gene was cloned into Escherichia coli and resistance to trimethoprim was measured by broth dilution and Etest. Phylogenetic analysis of previously reported dfrA genes was performed using MEGA. Long-read sequencing was conducted to determine the context of the novel dfr gene.The novel dfr gene, named dfrA34, conferred trimethoprim resistance (MIC =32?mg/L) when cloned into E. coli. Based on predicted amino acid sequences, dfrA34 shares less than 50% identity with other known dfrA genes. The dfrA34 gene is located in a class 1 integron in a multiresistance region of an IncC plasmid, adjacent to a sul gene, thus conferring clinical trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance. Additionally, dfrA34 is associated with ISCR1, enabling easy transmission between other plasmids and bacterial strains.


April 21, 2020  |  

A prophage and two ICESa2603-family integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) carrying optrA in Streptococcus suis.

To investigate the presence and transfer of the oxazolidinone/phenicol resistance gene optrA and identify the genetic elements involved in the horizontal transfer of the optrA gene in Streptococcus suis.A total of 237 S. suis isolates were screened for the presence of the optrA gene by PCR. Whole-genome DNA of three optrA-positive strains was completely sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq and Pacbio RSII platforms. MICs were determined by broth microdilution. Transferability of the optrA gene in S. suis was investigated by conjugation. The presence of circular intermediates was examined by inverse PCR.The optrA gene was present in 11.8% (28/237) of the S. suis strains. In three strains, the optrA gene was flanked by two copies of IS1216 elements in the same orientation, located either on a prophage or on ICESa2603-family integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs), including one tandem ICE. In one isolate, the optrA-carrying ICE transferred with a frequency of 2.1?×?10-8. After the transfer, the transconjugant displayed elevated MICs of the respective antimicrobial agents. Inverse PCRs revealed that circular intermediates of different sizes were formed in the three optrA-carrying strains, containing one copy of the IS1216E element and the optrA gene alone or in combination with other resistance genes.A prophage and two ICESa2603-family ICEs (including one tandem ICE) associated with the optrA gene were identified in S. suis. The association of the optrA gene with the IS1216E elements and its location on either a prophage or ICEs will aid its horizontal transfer. © 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  |  

Analysis of two pheromone-responsive conjugative multiresistance plasmids carrying the novel mobile optrA locus from Enterococcus faecalis

Background: The acquired optrA gene, which encodes a ribosomal protection protein of the ABC-F family, can confer cross-resistance to linezolid and florfenicol, posing a serious therapeutic challenge to both human and veterinary medicine. Purpose: The objective of this study was to investigate the two Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) plasmids for their fine structure, their transferability and the presence of mobile antimicrobial resistance loci. Methods: To elucidate their fine structure, the two plasmids were completely sequenced and the sequences analysed. Besides conjugation experiments, inverse PCR assays were conducted to see whether minicircles are produced from the mobile antimicrobial resistance loci. Results: Two pheromone-responsive conjugative optrA-carrying plasmids from E. faecalis, pE211 and pE508 were identified, which can transfer with frequencies of 2.6 ×10-2 and 3.7 ×10-2 (transconjugant per donor), respectively. In both plasmids, optrA was located on the novel mobile optrA locus with different sizes (12,834 bp in pE211 and 7,561 bp in pE508, respectively), flanked by two copies of IS1216 genes in the same orientation. Inverse PCR revealed that circular forms can be generated, consisting of optrA and one copy of IS1216, indicating they are all active. The 77,562 bp plasmid pE211 also carried Tn558 and a mobile bcrABDR locus, and the 84,468 bp plasmid pE508 also harbored the genes fexA, tet(L), tet(O/W/32/O) and a mobile aac(A)-aph(D) locus. Conclusion: The presence of mobile genetic elements in these plasmids renders them flexible and these elements will aid to the persistence and dissemination of these plasmids among enterococci and potentially also other gram-positive bacteria.


April 21, 2020  |  

Analysis of a poxtA- and optrA-co-carrying conjugative multiresistance plasmid from Enterococcus faecalis.

To investigate the presence and transferability of the poxtA gene and identify the genetic context of poxtA in two enterococcal plasmids from swine.MICs were determined by broth microdilution. A total of 114 porcine enterococci with florfenicol MICs of =16?mg/L were screened for the presence of the poxtA gene by PCR. Transferability of poxtA was investigated by conjugation and transformation. The poxtA-carrying plasmids were completely sequenced using the Illumina Miseq and PacBio RSII platform. The presence of circular intermediates was examined by inverse PCR.The poxtA gene was present in 57.9% (66/114) of the florfenicol-resistant porcine enterococci. Two poxtA-carrying plasmids, pE035 and pE076, were identified. The conjugative 121524?bp plasmid pE035 carried poxtA and optrA along with the resistance genes erm(A), erm(B), aac(A)-aph(D), lnu(G), fexB, dfrG and bcrABDR. Three mobile elements, comprising a mobile dfrG locus, a mobile bcrABDR locus and an unconventional circularizable structure containing aac(A)-aph(D), were located on this plasmid and all proved to be active by inverse PCR. The non-conjugative 19832?bp plasmid pE076 only carried poxtA and fexB. After transfer, both the transconjugant and the transformant displayed elevated MICs of the respective antimicrobial agents.To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the co-location of the oxazolidinone resistance genes poxtA and optrA on a conjugative multiresistance plasmid from a porcine enterococcal strain. In addition, the presence of three mobile elements in such a plasmid will aid in the persistence and dissemination of poxtA and optrA among enterococci. © 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.


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