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Authors: Stephens, Craig M and Adams-Sapper, Sheila and Sekhon, Manraj and Johnson, James R and Riley, Lee W

Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) strains belonging to multilocus sequence type 95 (ST95) are globally distributed and a common cause of infections in humans and domestic fowl. ST95 isolates generally show a lower prevalence of acquired antimicrobial resistance than other pandemic ExPEC lineages. We took a genomic approach to identify factors that may underlie reduced resistance. We fully assembled genomes for four ST95 isolates representing the four major fimH-based lineages within ST95 and also analyzed draft-level genomes from another 82 ST95 isolates, largely from the western United States. The fully assembled genomes of antibiotic-resistant isolates carried resistance genes exclusively on large (>90-kb) IncFIB/IncFII plasmids. These replicons were common in the draft genomes as well, particularly in antibiotic-resistant isolates, but we also observed multiple instances of a smaller (8.3-kb) ampicillin resistance plasmid that had been previously identified in Salmonella enterica. Among ST95 isolates, pansusceptibility to antibiotics was significantly associated with the fimH6 lineage and the presence of homologs of the previously identified 114-kb IncFIB/IncFII plasmid pUTI89, both of which were also associated with reduced carriage of other plasmids. Potential mechanistic explanations for lineage- and plasmid-specific effects on the prevalence of antibiotic resistance within the ST95 group are discussed. IMPORTANCE Antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens is a major public health concern. This work was motivated by the observation that only a small proportion of ST95 isolates, a major pandemic lineage of extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli, have acquired antibiotic resistance, in contrast to many other pandemic lineages. Understanding bacterial genetic factors that may prevent acquisition of resistance could contribute to the development of new biological, medical, or public health strategies to reduce antibiotic-resistant infections.

Journal: mSphere
DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00390-16
Year: 2017

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