September 21, 2019  |  

Characterization of multi-drug resistant Enterococcus faecalis isolated from cephalic recording chambers in research macaques (Macaca spp.).

Nonhuman primates are commonly used for cognitive neuroscience research and often surgically implanted with cephalic recording chambers for electrophysiological recording. Aerobic bacterial cultures from 25 macaques identified 72 bacterial isolates, including 15 Enterococcus faecalis isolates. The E. faecalis isolates displayed multi-drug resistant phenotypes, with resistance to ciprofloxacin, enrofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, bacitracin, and erythromycin, as well as high-level aminoglycoside resistance. Multi-locus sequence typing showed that most belonged to two E. faecalis sequence types (ST): ST 4 and ST 55. The genomes of three representative isolates were sequenced to identify genes encoding antimicrobial resistances and other traits. Antimicrobial resistance genes identified included aac(6′)-aph(2″), aph(3′)-III, str, ant(6)-Ia, tetM, tetS, tetL, ermB, bcrABR, cat, and dfrG, and polymorphisms in parC (S80I) and gyrA (S83I) were observed. These isolates also harbored virulence factors including the cytolysin toxin genes in ST 4 isolates, as well as multiple biofilm-associated genes (esp, agg, ace, SrtA, gelE, ebpABC), hyaluronidases (hylA, hylB), and other survival genes (ElrA, tpx). Crystal violet biofilm assays confirmed that ST 4 isolates produced more biofilm than ST 55 isolates. The abundance of antimicrobial resistance and virulence factor genes in the ST 4 isolates likely relates to the loss of CRISPR-cas. This macaque colony represents a unique model for studying E. faecalis infection associated with indwelling devices, and provides an opportunity to understand the basis of persistence of this pathogen in a healthcare setting.

September 21, 2019  |  

Decreased fitness and virulence in ST10 Escherichia coli harboring blaNDM-5 and mcr-1 against a ST4981 strain with blaNDM-5.

Although coexistence of blaNDM-5 and mcr-1 in Escherichia coli has been reported, little is known about the fitness and virulence of such strains. Three carbapenem-resistant Escherichia coli (GZ1, GZ2, and GZ3) successively isolated from one patient in 2015 were investigated for microbiological fitness and virulence. GZ1 and GZ2 were also resistant to colistin. To verify the association between plasmids and fitness, growth kinetics of the transconjugants were performed. We also analyzed genomic sequences of GZ2 and GZ3 using PacBio sequencing. GZ1 and GZ2 (ST10) co-harbored blaNDM-5 and mcr-1, while GZ3 (ST4981) carried only blaNDM-5. GZ3 demonstrated significantly more rapid growth (P < 0.001) and overgrew GZ2 with a competitive index of 1.0157 (4 h) and 2.5207 (24 h). Increased resistance to serum killing and mice mortality was also identified in GZ3. While GZ2 had four plasmids (IncI2, IncX3, IncHI2, IncFII), GZ3 possessed one plasmid (IncFII). The genetic contexts of blaNDM-5 in GZ2 and GZ3 were identical but inserted into different backbones, IncX3 (102,512 bp) and IncFII (91,451 bp), respectively. The growth was not statistically different between the transconjugants with mcr-1 or blaNDM-5 plasmid and recipient (P = 0.6238). Whole genome sequence analysis revealed that 28 virulence genes were specific to GZ3, potentially contributing to increased virulence of GZ3. Decreased fitness and virulence in a mcr-1 and blaNDM-5 co-harboring ST10 E. coli was found alongside a ST4981 strain with only blaNDM-5. Acquisition of mcr-1 or blaNDM-5 plasmid did not lead to considerable fitness costs, indicating the potential for dissemination of mcr-1 and blaNDM-5 in Enterobacteriaceae.

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