Single-molecule sequencing to track plasmid diversity of hospital-associated carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae

Science Translational Medicine
Sean ConlanJulia A Segre

Abstract

Public health officials have raised concerns that plasmid transfer between Enterobacteriaceae species may spread resistance to carbapenems, an antibiotic class of last resort, thereby rendering common health care-associated infections nearly impossible to treat. To determine the diversity of carbapenemase-encoding plasmids and assess their mobility among bacterial species, we performed comprehensive surveillance and genomic sequencing of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center patient population and hospital environment. We isolated a repertoire of carbapenemase-encoding Enterobacteriaceae, including multiple strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter cloacae, Citrobacter freundii, and Pantoea species. Long-read genome sequencing with full end-to-end assembly revealed that these organisms carry the carbapenem resistance genes on a wide array of plasmids. K. pneumoniae and E. cloacae isolated simultaneously from a single patient harbored two different carbapenemase-encoding plasmids, indicating that plasmid transfer between organisms was unlikely within this patient. We did, however, find evidence of horizontal transfer of carbap...Continue Reading

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