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  |  

The genomic architecture of introgression among sibling species of bacteria

Gene transfer between bacterial species is an important mechanism for adaptation. For example, sets of genes that confer the ability to form nitrogen-fixing root nodules on host plants have frequently moved between Rhizobium species. It is not clear, though, whether such transfer is exceptional, or if frequent inter-species introgression is typical. To address this, we sequenced the genomes of 196 isolates of the Rhizobium leguminosarum species complex obtained from root nodules of white clover (Trifolium repens). Core gene phylogeny placed the isolates into five distinct genospecies that show high intra-genospecies recombination rates and remarkably different demographic histories. Most gene phylogenies were largely concordant with the genospecies, indicating that recent gene transfer between genospecies was rare. In contrast, very similar symbiosis gene sequences were found in two or more genospecies, suggesting recent horizontal transfer. The replication and conjugative transfer genes of the plasmids carrying the symbiosis genes showed a similar pattern, implying that introgression occurred by conjugative plasmid transfer. The only other regions that showed strong phylogenetic discordance with the genospecies classification were two small chromosomal clusters, one neighbouring a conjugative transfer system. Phage-related sequences were observed in the genomes, but appeared to have very limited impact on introgression. Introgression among these closely-related species has been very limited, confined to the symbiosis plasmids and a few chromosomal islands. Both introgress through conjugative transfer, but have been subject to different types of selective forces.


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  |  

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  |  

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  |  

Genetic variation in the conjugative plasmidome of a hospital effluent multidrug resistant Escherichia coli strain.

Bacteria harboring conjugative plasmids have the potential for spreading antibiotic resistance through horizontal gene transfer. It is described that the selection and dissemination of antibiotic resistance is enhanced by stressors, like metals or antibiotics, which can occur as environmental contaminants. This study aimed at unveiling the composition of the conjugative plasmidome of a hospital effluent multidrug resistant Escherichia coli strain (H1FC54) under different mating conditions. To meet this objective, plasmid pulsed field gel electrophoresis, optical mapping analyses and DNA sequencing were used in combination with phenotype analysis. Strain H1FC54 was observed to harbor five plasmids, three of which were conjugative and two of these, pH1FC54_330 and pH1FC54_140, contained metal and antibiotic resistance genes. Transconjugants obtained in the absence or presence of tellurite (0.5?µM or 5?µM), arsenite (0.5?µM, 5?µM or 15?µM) or ceftazidime (10?mg/L) and selected in the presence of sodium azide (100?mg/L) and tetracycline (16?mg/L) presented distinct phenotypes, associated with the acquisition of different plasmid combinations, including two co-integrate plasmids, of 310 kbp and 517 kbp. The variable composition of the conjugative plasmidome, the formation of co-integrates during conjugation, as well as the transfer of non-transferable plasmids via co-integration, and the possible association between antibiotic, arsenite and tellurite tolerance was demonstrated. These evidences bring interesting insights into the comprehension of the molecular and physiological mechanisms that underlie antibiotic resistance propagation in the environment. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Transmission of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli between broilers and humans on broiler farms.

ESBL and AmpC ß-lactamases are an increasing concern for public health. Studies suggest that ESBL/pAmpC-producing Escherichia coli and their plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes can spread from broilers to humans working or living on broiler farms. These studies used traditional typing methods, which may not have provided sufficient resolution to reliably assess the relatedness of these isolates.Eleven suspected transmission events among broilers and humans living/working on eight broiler farms were investigated using whole-genome short-read (Illumina) and long-read sequencing (PacBio). Core genome MLST (cgMLST) was performed to investigate the occurrence of strain transmission. Horizontal plasmid and gene transfer were analysed using BLAST.Of eight suspected strain transmission events, six were confirmed. The isolate pairs had identical ESBL/AmpC genes and fewer than eight allelic differences according to the cgMLST, and five had an almost identical plasmid composition. On one of the farms, cgMLST revealed that the isolate pairs belonging to ST10 from a broiler and a household member of the farmer had 475 different alleles, but that the plasmids were identical, indicating horizontal transfer of mobile elements rather than strain transfer. Of three suspected horizontal plasmid transmission events, one was confirmed. In addition, gene transfer between plasmids was found.The present study confirms transmission of strains as well as horizontal plasmid and gene transfer between broilers and farmers and household members on the same farm. WGS is an important tool to confirm suspected zoonotic strain and resistance gene transmission. © 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  |  

Nodule bacteria from the cultured legume Phaseolus dumosus (belonging to the Phaseolus vulgaris cross-inoculation group) with common tropici phenotypic characteristics and symbiovar but distinctive phylogenomic position and chromid.

Phaseolus dumosus is an endemic species from mountain tops in Mexico that was found in traditional agriculture areas in Veracruz, Mexico. P. dumosus plants were identified by ITS sequences and their nodules were collected from agricultural fields or from trap plant experiments in the laboratory. Bacteria from P. dumosus nodules were identified as belonging to the phaseoli-etli-leguminosarum (PEL) or to the tropici group by 16S rRNA gene sequences. We obtained complete closed genomes from two P. dumosus isolates CCGE531 and CCGE532 that were phylogenetically placed within the tropici group but with a distinctive phylogenomic position and low average nucleotide identity (ANI). CCGE531 and CCGE532 had common phenotypic characteristics with tropici type B rhizobial symbionts. Genome synteny analysis and ANI showed that P. dumosus isolates had different chromids and our analysis suggests that chromids have independently evolved in different lineages of the Rhizobium genus. Finally, we considered that P. dumosus and Phaseolus vulgaris plants belong to the same cross-inoculation group since they have conserved symbiotic affinites for rhizobia.Copyright © 2018 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Toxin and genome evolution in a Drosophila defensive symbiosis.

Defenses conferred by microbial symbionts play a vital role in the health and fitness of their animal hosts. An important outstanding question in the study of defensive symbiosis is what determines long term stability and effectiveness against diverse natural enemies. In this study, we combine genome and transcriptome sequencing, symbiont transfection and parasite protection experiments, and toxin activity assays to examine the evolution of the defensive symbiosis between Drosophila flies and their vertically transmitted Spiroplasma bacterial symbionts, focusing in particular on ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs), symbiont-encoded toxins that have been implicated in protection against both parasitic wasps and nematodes. Although many strains of Spiroplasma, including the male-killing symbiont (sMel) of Drosophila melanogaster, protect against parasitic wasps, only the strain (sNeo) that infects the mycophagous fly Drosophila neotestacea appears to protect against parasitic nematodes. We find that RIP repertoire is a major differentiating factor between strains that do and do not offer nematode protection, and that sMel RIPs do not show activity against nematode ribosomes in vivo. We also discovered a strain of Spiroplasma infecting a mycophagous phorid fly, Megaselia nigra. Although both the host and its Spiroplasma are distantly related to D. neotestacea and its symbiont, genome sequencing revealed that the M. nigra symbiont encodes abundant and diverse RIPs, including plasmid-encoded toxins that are closely related to the RIPs in sNeo. Our results suggest that distantly related Spiroplasma RIP toxins may perform specialized functions with regard to parasite specificity and suggest an important role for horizontal gene transfer in the emergence of novel defensive phenotypes.


April 21, 2020  |  

Dissemination of multiple carbapenem resistance genes in an in vitro gut model simulating the human colon.

Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) pose a major global health risk. Mobile genetic elements account for much of the increasing CPE burden.To investigate CPE colonization and the impact of antibiotic exposure on subsequent resistance gene dissemination within the gut microbiota using a model to simulate the human colon.Gut models seeded with CPE-negative human faeces [screened with BioMérieux chromID® CARBA-SMART (Carba-Smart), Cepheid Xpert® Carba-R assay (XCR)] were inoculated with distinct carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae strains (KPC, NDM) and challenged with imipenem or piperacillin/tazobactam then meropenem. Resistant populations were enumerated daily on selective agars (Carba-Smart); CPE genes were confirmed by PCR (XCR, Check-Direct CPE Screen for BD MAX™). CPE gene dissemination was tracked using PacBio long-read sequencing.CPE populations increased during inoculation, plateauing at ~105?log10?cfu/mL in both models and persisting throughout the experiments (>65?days), with no evidence of CPE ‘washout’. After antibiotic administration, there was evidence of interspecies plasmid transfer of blaKPC-2 (111742?bp IncFII/IncR plasmid, 99% identity to pKpQIL-D2) and blaNDM-1 (~170?kb IncFIB/IncFII plasmid), and CPE populations rose from <0.01% to >45% of the total lactose-fermenting populations in the KPC model. Isolation of a blaNDM-1K. pneumoniae with one chromosomal single-nucleotide variant compared with the inoculated strain indicated clonal expansion within the model. Antibiotic administration exposed a previously undetected K. pneumoniae encoding blaOXA-232 (KPC model).CPE exposure can lead to colonization, clonal expansion and resistance gene transfer within intact human colonic microbiota. Furthermore, under antibiotic selective pressure, new resistant populations emerge, emphasizing the need to control exposure to antimicrobials. © 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  |  

Genome Comparisons of Wild Isolates of Caulobacter crescentus Reveal Rates of Inversion and Horizontal Gene Transfer.

Since previous interspecies comparisons of Caulobacter genomes have revealed extensive genome rearrangements, we decided to compare the nucleotide sequences of four C. crescentus genomes, NA1000, CB1, CB2, and CB13. To accomplish this goal, we used PacBio sequencing technology to determine the nucleotide sequence of the CB1, CB2, and CB13 genomes, and obtained each genome sequence as a single contig. To correct for possible sequencing errors, each genome was sequenced twice. The only differences we observed between the two sets of independently determined sequences were random omissions of a single base in a small percentage of the homopolymer regions where a single base is repeated multiple times. Comparisons of these four genomes indicated that horizontal gene transfer events that included small numbers of genes occurred at frequencies in the range of 10-3 to 10-4 insertions per generation. Large insertions were about 100 times less frequent. Also, in contrast to previous interspecies comparisons, we found no genome rearrangements when the closely related NA1000, CB1, and CB2 genomes were compared, and only eight inversions and one translocation when the more distantly related CB13 genome was compared to the other genomes. Thus, we estimate that inversions occur at a rate of one per 10 to 12 million generations in Caulobacter genomes. The inversions seem to be complex events that include the simultaneous creation of indels.


April 21, 2020  |  

Global-level population genomics reveals differential effects of geography and phylogeny on horizontal gene transfer in soil bacteria.

Although microorganisms are known to dominate Earth’s biospheres and drive biogeochemical cycling, little is known about the geographic distributions of microbial populations or the environmental factors that pattern those distributions. We used a global-level hierarchical sampling scheme to comprehensively characterize the evolutionary relationships and distributional limitations of the nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbionts of the crop chickpea, generating 1,027 draft whole-genome sequences at the level of bacterial populations, including 14 high-quality PacBio genomes from a phylogenetically representative subset. We find that diverse Mesorhizobium taxa perform symbiosis with chickpea and have largely overlapping global distributions. However, sampled locations cluster based on the phylogenetic diversity of Mesorhizobium populations, and diversity clusters correspond to edaphic and environmental factors, primarily soil type and latitude. Despite long-standing evolutionary divergence and geographic isolation, the diverse taxa observed to nodulate chickpea share a set of integrative conjugative elements (ICEs) that encode the major functions of the symbiosis. This symbiosis ICE takes 2 forms in the bacterial chromosome-tripartite and monopartite-with tripartite ICEs confined to a broadly distributed superspecies clade. The pairwise evolutionary relatedness of these elements is controlled as much by geographic distance as by the evolutionary relatedness of the background genome. In contrast, diversity in the broader gene content of Mesorhizobium genomes follows a tight linear relationship with core genome phylogenetic distance, with little detectable effect of geography. These results illustrate how geography and demography can operate differentially on the evolution of bacterial genomes and offer useful insights for the development of improved technologies for sustainable agriculture.


April 21, 2020  |  

Epidemiologic and genomic insights on mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella from diarrhoeal outpatients in Shanghai, China, 2006-2016.

Colistin resistance mediated by mcr-1-harbouring plasmids is an emerging threat in Enterobacteriaceae, like Salmonella. Based on its major contribution to the diarrhoea burden, the epidemic state and threat of mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella in community-acquired infections should be estimated.This retrospective study analysed the mcr-1 gene incidence in Salmonella strains collected from a surveillance on diarrhoeal outpatients in Shanghai Municipality, China, 2006-2016. Molecular characteristics of the mcr-1-positive strains and their plasmids were determined by genome sequencing. The transfer abilities of these plasmids were measured with various conjugation strains, species, and serotypes.Among the 12,053 Salmonella isolates, 37 mcr-1-harbouring strains, in which 35 were serovar Typhimurium, were detected first in 2012 and with increasing frequency after 2015. Most patients infected with mcr-1-harbouring strains were aged <5?years. All strains, including fluoroquinolone-resistant and/or extended-spectrum ß-lactamase-producing strains, were multi-drug resistant. S. Typhimurium had higher mcr-1 plasmid acquisition ability compared with other common serovars. Phylogeny based on the genomes combined with complete plasmid sequences revealed some clusters, suggesting the presence of mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella outbreaks in the community. Most mcr-1-positive strains were clustered together with the pork strains, strongly suggesting pork consumption as a main infection source.The mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella prevalence in community-acquired diarrhoea displays a rapid increase trend, and the ESBL-mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella poses a threat for children. These findings highlight the necessary and significance of prohibiting colistin use in animals and continuous monitoring of mcr-1-harbouring Salmonella.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier B.V.


April 21, 2020  |  

Development of a metabolic pathway transfer and genomic integration system for the syngas-fermenting bacterium Clostridium ljungdahlii.

Clostridium spp. can synthesize valuable chemicals and fuels by utilizing diverse waste-stream substrates, including starchy biomass, lignocellulose, and industrial waste gases. However, metabolic engineering in Clostridium spp. is challenging due to the low efficiency of gene transfer and genomic integration of entire biosynthetic pathways.We have developed a reliable gene transfer and genomic integration system for the syngas-fermenting bacterium Clostridium ljungdahlii based on the conjugal transfer of donor plasmids containing large transgene cassettes (>?5 kb) followed by the inducible activation of Himar1 transposase to promote integration. We established a conjugation protocol for the efficient generation of transconjugants using the Gram-positive origins of replication repL and repH. We also investigated the impact of DNA methylation on conjugation efficiency by testing donor constructs with all possible combinations of Dam and Dcm methylation patterns, and used bisulfite conversion and PacBio sequencing to determine the DNA methylation profile of the C. ljungdahlii genome, resulting in the detection of four sequence motifs with N6-methyladenosine. As proof of concept, we demonstrated the transfer and genomic integration of a heterologous acetone biosynthesis pathway using a Himar1 transposase system regulated by a xylose-inducible promoter. The functionality of the integrated pathway was confirmed by detecting enzyme proteotypic peptides and the formation of acetone and isopropanol by C. ljungdahlii cultures utilizing syngas as a carbon and energy source.The developed multi-gene delivery system offers a versatile tool to integrate and stably express large biosynthetic pathways in the industrial promising syngas-fermenting microorganism C. ljungdahlii. The simple transfer and stable integration of large gene clusters (like entire biosynthetic pathways) is expanding the range of possible fermentation products of heterologously expressing recombinant strains. We also believe that the developed gene delivery system can be adapted to other clostridial strains as well.


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