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Authors: Zeng, Xiancheng and Chi, Xuelin and Ho, Brian T and Moon, Damee and Lambert, Christine and Hall, Richard J and Baybayan, Primo and Wang, Shihua and Wilson, Brenda A and Ho, Mengfei

Extensive drug resistance (XDR) is an escalating global problem. Escherichia coli strain Sanji was isolated from an outbreak of pheasant colibacillosis in Fujian province, China, in 2011. This strain has XDR properties, exhibiting sensitivity to carbapenems but no other classes of known antibiotics. Whole-genome sequencing revealed a total of 32 known antibiotic resistance genes, many associated with insertion sequence 26 (IS26) elements. These were found on the Sanji chromosome and 2 of its 6 plasmids, pSJ_255 and pSJ_82. The Sanji chromosome also harbors a type 2 secretion system (T2SS), a type 3 secretion system (T3SS), a type 6 secretion system (T6SS), and several putative prophages. Sanji and other ST167 strains have a previously uncharacterized O-antigen (O89b) that is most closely related to serotype O89 as determined on the basis of analysis of the wzm-wzt genes and in silico serotyping. This O89b-antigen gene cluster was also found in the genomes of a few other pathogenic sequence type 617 (ST617) and ST10 complex strains. A time-scaled phylogeny inferred from comparative single nucleotide variant analysis indicated that development of these O89b-containing lineages emerged about 30?years ago. Comparative sequence analysis revealed that the core genome of Sanji is nearly identical to that of several recently sequenced strains of pathogenic XDR E. coli belonging to the ST167 group. Comparison of the mobile elements among the different ST167 genomes revealed that each genome carries a distinct set of multidrug resistance genes on different types of plasmids, indicating that there are multiple paths toward the emergence of XDR in E. coli. IMPORTANCE E. coli strain Sanji is the first sequenced and analyzed genome of the recently emerged pathogenic XDR strains with sequence type ST167 and novel in silico serotype O89b:H9. Comparison of the genomes of Sanji with other ST167 strains revealed distinct sets of different plasmids, mobile IS elements, and antibiotic resistance genes in each genome, indicating that there exist multiple paths toward achieving XDR. The emergence of these pathogenic ST167 E. coli strains with diverse XDR capabilities highlights the difficulty of preventing or mitigating the development of XDR properties in bacteria and points to the importance of better understanding of the shared underlying virulence mechanisms and physiology of pathogenic bacteria.

Journal: mSystems
DOI: 10.1128/mSystems.00242-18
Year: 2019

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