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Authors: Cazares, Adrian and Moore, Matthew P and Grimes, Macauley and Emond-Rhéault, Jean-Guillaume and Wright, Laura L and Pongchaikul, Pisut and Santanirand, Pitak and Levesque, Roger C and Fothergill, Joanne L and Winstanley, Craig

Multidrug resistance (MDR) represents a global threat to health. Although plasmids can play an important role in the dissemination of MDR, they have not been commonly linked to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We used whole genome sequencing to characterize a collection of P. aeruginosa clinical isolates from a hospital in Thailand. Using long-read sequence data we obtained complete sequences of two closely related megaplasmids (>420 kb) carrying large arrays of antibiotic resistance genes located in discrete, complex and dynamic resistance regions, and revealing evidence of extensive duplication and recombination events. A comprehensive pangenomic and phylogenomic analysis indicated that 1) these large plasmids comprise a family present in different members of the Pseudomonas genus and associated with multiple sources (geographical, clinical or environmental); 2) the megaplasmids encode diverse niche-adaptive accessory traits, including multidrug resistance; 3) the pangenome of the megaplasmid family is highly flexible and diverse, comprising a substantial core genome (average of 48% of plasmid genes), but with individual members carrying large numbers of unique genes. The history of the megaplasmid family, inferred from our analysis of the available database, suggests that members carrying multiple resistance genes date back to at least the 1970s.

Journal: BioRxiv
DOI: 10.1101/630780
Year: 2019

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