Pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. The first-line agents to treat P. aeruginosa infections are carbapenems. However, the emergence of carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa strains greatly compromised the effec- tiveness of carbapenem treatment, which makes the surveillance on their spreading and transmission important. Here we characterized the full-length genomes of two carbapenem- resistant P. aeruginosa clinical isolates that are capable of producing New Delhi metallo-ß- lactamase-1 (NDM-1). We show that blaNDM-1 is carried by a novel integrative and conjugative element (ICE) ICETn43716385, which also carries the macrolide resistance gene msr(E) and the florfenicol resistance gene floR. By exogenously expressing msr(E) in P. aeruginosa laboratory strains, we show that Msr(E) can abolish azithromycin-mediated quorum sensing inhibition in vitro and anti-Pseudomonas effect in vivo. We conclude that ICEs are important in transmitting carbapenem resistance, and that anti-virulence treatment of P. aeruginosa infections using sub-inhibitory concentrations of macrolides can be challenged by horizontal gene transfer.
Journal: Communications biology