Diversity of P1 phage-like elements in multidrug resistant Escherichia coli

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Scientific Reports, 2019, 9 (1)
Issue Date:
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© 2019, The Author(s). The spread of multidrug resistance via mobile genetic elements is a major clinical and veterinary concern. Pathogenic Escherichia coli harbour antibiotic resistance and virulence genes mainly on plasmids, but also bacteriophages and hybrid phage-like plasmids. In this study, the genomes of three E. coli phage-like plasmids, pJIE250-3 from a human E. coli clinical isolate, pSvP1 from a porcine ETEC O157 isolate, and pTZ20_1P from a porcine commensal E. coli, were sequenced (PacBio RSII), annotated and compared. All three elements are coliphage P1 variants, each with unique adaptations. pJIE250-3 is a P1-derivative that has lost lytic functions and contains no accessory genes. In pTZ20_1P and pSvP1, a core P1-like genome is associated with insertion sequence-mediated acquisition of plasmid modules encoding multidrug resistance and virulence, respectively. The transfer ability of pTZ20_1P, carrying antibiotic resistance markers, was also tested and, although this element was not able to transfer by conjugation, it was able to lysogenize a commensal E. coli strain with consequent transfer of resistance. The incidence of P1-like plasmids (~7%) in our E. coli collections correlated well with that in public databases. This study highlights the need to investigate the contribution of phage-like plasmids to the successful spread of antibiotic resistant pathotypes.
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