Of 11 mcr-1-harboring plasmids previously identified from livestock in Korea, we performed whole plasmid sequencing on 3 plasmids and determined the genetic structure surrounding mcr-1 for all 11 plasmids. Transconjugation frequencies were measured for all mcr-1-harboring plasmids and competitive growth experiments were performed to investigate the fitness cost of each plasmid. Although they belong to different clones, the mcr-1-harboring plasmids, pEC006 and pEC019, were highly similar to the first identified mcr-1-carrying Incl2-type plasmid, pHNSHP45. Another IncX4-type plasmid, pEC111, had completely different structure from these plasmids, but was similar to pMCR1-IncX4. A nearly identical 11.3?kb mcr-1 region (nikB-ISApl1-mcr-1-pap2-topB) was shared by all mcr-1-harboring plasmids except pEC111. The transfer rate of mcr-1-harboring plasmids was highly variable (10-11 to 10-3) and was not related to plasmid structure. Competitive growth experiments revealed that the fitness of all three transconjugants with mcr-1-harboring plasmids increased compared with that of the recipient strain, Escherichia coli J53. The mcr-1-harboring plasmids may have been repeatedly introduced into bacterial isolates since the initial introduction of the mcr-1-positive strain from other countries into South Korea. Transferability and reduced burden to the host of mcr-1-harboring plasmid may lead to the proliferation of colistin-resistant isolates in the future. Therefore, continuous monitoring is necessary.
Journal: Microbial drug resistance