The transfer of DNA between Enterococcus faecium strains has been characterized by both the movement of well-defined genetic elements and by the large-scale transfer of genomic DNA fragments. In this work we report on the whole genome analysis of transconjugants resulting from mating events between the vancomycin-resistant E. faecium C68 strain and vancomycin susceptible D344RRF to discern the mechanism by which the transferred regions enter the recipient chromosome. Vancomycin-resistant transconjugants from five independent matings were analysed by whole genome sequencing. In all cases but one, the penicillin binding protein 5 gene (pbp5) and the Tn5382-vancomycin resistance transposon were transferred together and replaced the corresponding pbp5 region of D344RRF. In one instance, Tn5382 inserted independently downstream of the D344RRF pbp5 Single nucleotide variants (SNV) analysis suggests that entry of donor DNA into the recipient chromosome occurred by recombination across regions of homology between donor and recipient chromosomes, rather than through insertion sequence-mediated transposition. Transfer of genomic DNA was also associated with transfer of C68 plasmid pLRM23 and another putative plasmid. Our data are consistent with transfer initiated by a cointegration of a transferable plasmid with the donor chromosome, with subsequent circularization of the plasmid/chromosome cointegrate in the donor prior to transfer. Entry into the recipient chromosome occurs most commonly across regions of homology between donor and recipient chromosomes. Copyright © 2016 García-Solache et al.
Journal: Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy