September 22, 2019  |  

The global distribution and spread of the mobilized colistin resistance gene mcr-1.

Authors: Wang, Ruobing and van Dorp, Lucy and Shaw, Liam P and Bradley, Phelim and Wang, Qi and Wang, Xiaojuan and Jin, Longyang and Zhang, Qing and Liu, Yuqing and Rieux, Adrien and Dorai-Schneiders, Thamarai and Weinert, Lucy Anne and Iqbal, Zamin and Didelot, Xavier and Wang, Hui and Balloux, Francois

Colistin represents one of the few available drugs for treating infections caused by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. As such, the recent plasmid-mediated spread of the colistin resistance gene mcr-1 poses a significant public health threat, requiring global monitoring and surveillance. Here, we characterize the global distribution of mcr-1 using a data set of 457 mcr-1-positive sequenced isolates. We find mcr-1 in various plasmid types but identify an immediate background common to all mcr-1 sequences. Our analyses establish that all mcr-1 elements in circulation descend from the same initial mobilization of mcr-1 by an ISApl1 transposon in the mid 2000s (2002-2008; 95% highest posterior density), followed by a marked demographic expansion, which led to its current global distribution. Our results provide the first systematic phylogenetic analysis of the origin and spread of mcr-1, and emphasize the importance of understanding the movement of antibiotic resistance genes across multiple levels of genomic organization.

Journal: Nature communications
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03205-z
Year: 2018

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