Pseudomonas aeruginosa displays intrinsic resistance to many antibiotics and known to acquire actively genetic mutations for further resistance. In this study, we attempted to understand genomic and transcriptomic landscapes of P. aeruginosa clinical isolates that are highly resistant to multiple antibiotics. We also aimed to reveal a mode of antibiotic resistance by elucidating transcriptional response of genes conferring antibiotic resistance. To this end, we sequenced the whole genomes and profiled genome-wide RNA transcripts of three different multi-drug resistant (MDR) clinical isolates that are phylogenetically distant from one another. Multi-layered genome comparisons with genomes of antibiotic-susceptible P. aeruginosa strains and 70 other antibiotic-resistance strains revealed both well-characterized conserved gene mutations and distinct distribution of antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) among strains. Transcriptions of genes involved in quorum sensing and type VI secretion systems were invariably downregulated in the MDR strains. Virulence-associated phenotypes were further examined and results indicate that our MDR strains are clearly avirulent. Transcriptions of 64 genes, logically selected to be related with antibiotic resistance in MDR strains, were active under normal growth conditions and remained unchanged during antibiotic treatment. These results propose that antibiotic resistance is achieved by a "constitutive" response scheme, where ARGs are actively expressed even in the absence of antibiotic stress, rather than a "reactive" response. Bacterial responses explored at the transcriptomic level in conjunction with their genome repertoires provided novel insights into (i) the virulence-associated phenotypes and (ii) a mode of antibiotic resistance in MDR P. aeruginosa strains.
Journal: Scientific reports