ResearchPad - plasmids Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[ArdC, a ssDNA-binding protein with a metalloprotease domain, overpasses the recipient <i>hsdRMS</i> restriction system broadening conjugation host range]]> Horizontal gene transfer is the main mechanism by which bacteria acquire and disseminate new traits, such as antibiotic resistance genes, that allow adaptation and evolution. Here we identified a gene, ardC, that enables a plasmid to increase its conjugative host range, and thus positively contributes to plasmid fitness. The crystal structure of the antirestriction protein ArdC revealed a fold different from other antirestriction proteins. Our results have wide implications for understanding how a gene enlarges the environments a plasmid can colonize and point to new targets to harness the bacterial DNA uptake control.

<![CDATA[Antimicrobial resistance, plasmid, virulence, multilocus sequence typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiles of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium clinical and environmental isolates from India]]>

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) is a common serovar associated with non-typhoidal salmonellosis globally. However, there is insufficient data on molecular characterization of S. Typhimurium isolates from India. This study was undertaken to determine the antimicrobial resistance (AMR), plasmid, virulence profiles and molecular subtypes of S. Typhimurium Indian isolates (n = 70) of clinical and environmental origin isolated during 2010–2017. Antimicrobial susceptibility and minimum inhibitory concentrations were determined by disc diffusion and E-test methods respectively. Plasmid extraction was done following standard protocol. AMR genes, virulence genes and plasmid incompatibility types were detected by PCR; Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) were used for molecular subtyping. Majority (57%) of the study isolates was pan susceptible; five AMR profiles were observed among the resistant (43%) isolates. AMR was significantly (p = 0.004) associated with extra-intestinal isolates than intestinal isolates.The class 1 integron and plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance genes (qnrB1, qnrS1) in the resistant isolates were transferable by conjugation. Plasmids (≥1) ranging from 1.9 to 254kb size and of IncFIIS and/or FIB type were found in most isolates. A total of 39 pulsotypes by PFGE and four sequence types by MLST like ST36 (55.7%), ST19 (32.9%), ST313 (10%) and ST213 (1.4%) were observed. ST36 and ST19 were found circulating in both clinical and environmental host, while ST313 isolates had an exclusive clinical origin. All ST19 isolates (100%) were drug-resistant, while isolates belonging to ST313 (100%), ST213 (100%) and ST36 (82%) were pan susceptible. The virulence plasmid (VP) genes (spvB- spvC) were present in all genotypes except ST36. The VP was significantly (p<0.001) associated with extra-intestinal than intestinal isolates. Some environmental and clinical isolates were clonal indicating their zoonotic transmission. Knowledge on the molecular subtypes and AMR profiles of locally prevalent Salmonella serotypes is important for effective control of spread of resistant organisms. The MLST of S. Typhimurium isolates and its association with AMR, virulence profiles was not reported earlier from India.

<![CDATA[Acquisition and transfer of antibiotic resistance genes in association with conjugative plasmid or class 1 integrons of Acinetobacter baumannii]]>

Conjugation is a type of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) that serves as the primary mechanism responsible for accelerating the spread of antibiotic resistance genes in Gram-negative bacteria. The present study aimed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the conjugation-mediated gene transfer from the extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (XDR-AB) and New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1-producing Acinetobacter baumannii (NDM-AB) to environmental isolates of Acinetobacter spp. Conjugation experiments demonstrated that resistance to ticarcillin and kanamycin could be transferred from four donors to two sodium azide-resistant A. baumannii strains, namely, NU013R and NU015R. No transconjugants were detected on Mueller-Hinton Agar (MHA) plates containing tetracycline. Plasmids obtained from donors as well as successful transconjugants were characterized by PCR-based replicon typing and S1-nuclease pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (S1-PFGE). Detection of antibiotic resistance genes and integrase genes (int) was performed using PCR. Results revealed that the donor AB364 strain can transfer the blaOXA-23 and blaPER-1 genes to both recipients in association with int1. A 240-kb plasmid was successfully transferred from the donor AB364 to recipients. In addition, the aphA6 and blaPER-1 genes were co-transferred with the int1 gene from the donor strains AB352 and AB405. The transfer of a 220-kb plasmid from the donors to recipient was detected. The GR6 plasmid containing the kanamycin resistance gene (aphA6) was successfully transferred from the donor strain AB140 to both recipient strains. However, the blaNDM-1 and tet(B) genes were not detected in all transconjugants. Our study is the first to demonstrate successful in vitro conjugation, which indicated that XDR-AB contained combination mechanisms of the co-transfer of antimicrobial resistance elements with integron cassettes or with the plasmid group GR6. Thus, conjugation could be responsible for the emergence of new types of antibiotic-resistant strains.

<![CDATA[Tanzawaic Acids, a Chemically Novel Set of Bacterial Conjugation Inhibitors]]>

Bacterial conjugation is the main mechanism for the dissemination of multiple antibiotic resistance in human pathogens. This dissemination could be controlled by molecules that interfere with the conjugation process. A search for conjugation inhibitors among a collection of 1,632 natural compounds, identified tanzawaic acids A and B as best hits. They specially inhibited IncW and IncFII conjugative systems, including plasmids mobilized by them. Plasmids belonging to IncFI, IncI, IncL/M, IncX and IncH incompatibility groups were targeted to a lesser extent, whereas IncN and IncP plasmids were unaffected. Tanzawaic acids showed reduced toxicity in bacterial, fungal or human cells, when compared to synthetic conjugation inhibitors, opening the possibility of their deployment in complex environments, including natural settings relevant for antibiotic resistance dissemination.

<![CDATA[mcr-1 identified in Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC)]]>

Antimicrobial resistance associated with colistin has emerged as a significant concern worldwide threatening the use of one of the most important antimicrobials for treating human disease.

Here, we examined a collection (n = 980) of Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) isolated from poultry with colibacillosis from the US and internationally for the presence of mcr-1 and mcr-2, genes known to encode colistin resistance. Included in the analysis was an additional set of avian fecal E. coli (AFEC) (n = 220) isolates from healthy birds for comparative analysis. The mcr-1 gene was detected in a total of 12 isolates recovered from diseased production birds from China and Egypt. No mcr genes were detected in the healthy fecal isolates. The full mcr-1 gene from positive isolates was sequenced using specifically designed primers and were compared with sequences currently described in NCBI. mcr-1 positive isolates were also assessed for phenotypic colistin resistance and extended spectrum beta lactam phenotypes and genotypes. This study has identified mcr-1 in APEC isolates dating back to at least 2010 and suggests that animal husbandry practices could result in a potential source of resistance to the human food chain in countries where application of colistin in animal health is practiced.

<![CDATA[Analysis of ParB-centromere interactions by multiplex SPR imaging reveals specific patterns for binding ParB in six centromeres of Burkholderiales chromosomes and plasmids]]>

Bacterial centromeres–also called parS, are cis-acting DNA sequences which, together with the proteins ParA and ParB, are involved in the segregation of chromosomes and plasmids. The specific binding of ParB to parS nucleates the assembly of a large ParB/DNA complex from which ParA—the motor protein, segregates the sister replicons. Closely related families of partition systems, called Bsr, were identified on the chromosomes and large plasmids of the multi-chromosomal bacterium Burkholderia cenocepacia and other species from the order Burkholeriales. The centromeres of the Bsr partition families are 16 bp palindromes, displaying similar base compositions, notably a central CG dinucleotide. Despite centromeres bind the cognate ParB with a narrow specificity, weak ParB-parS non cognate interactions were nevertheless detected between few Bsr partition systems of replicons not belonging to the same genome. These observations suggested that Bsr partition systems could have a common ancestry but that evolution mostly erased the possibilities of cross-reactions between them, in particular to prevent replicon incompatibility. To detect novel similarities between Bsr partition systems, we have analyzed the binding of six Bsr parS sequences and a wide collection of modified derivatives, to their cognate ParB. The study was carried out by Surface Plasmon Resonance imaging (SPRi) mulitplex analysis enabling a systematic survey of each nucleotide position within the centromere. We found that in each parS some positions could be changed while maintaining binding to ParB. Each centromere displays its own pattern of changes, but some positions are shared more or less widely. In addition from these changes we could speculate evolutionary links between these centromeres.

<![CDATA[CDI Systems Are Stably Maintained by a Cell-Contact Mediated Surveillance Mechanism]]>

Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems are widespread amongst Gram-negative bacteria where they play important roles in inter-cellular competition and biofilm formation. CDI+ bacteria use cell-surface CdiA proteins to bind neighboring bacteria and deliver C-terminal toxin domains. CDI+ cells also express CdiI immunity proteins that specifically neutralize toxins delivered from adjacent siblings. Genomic analyses indicate that cdi loci are commonly found on plasmids and genomic islands, suggesting that these Type 5 secretion systems are spread through horizontal gene transfer. Here, we examine whether CDI toxin and immunity activities serve to stabilize mobile genetic elements using a minimal F plasmid that fails to partition properly during cell division. This F plasmid is lost from Escherichia coli populations within 50 cell generations, but is maintained in ~60% of the cells after 100 generations when the plasmid carries the cdi gene cluster from E. coli strain EC93. By contrast, the ccdAB "plasmid addiction" module normally found on F exerts only a modest stabilizing effect. cdi-dependent plasmid stabilization requires the BamA receptor for CdiA, suggesting that plasmid-free daughter cells are inhibited by siblings that retain the CDI+ plasmid. In support of this model, the CDI+ F plasmid is lost rapidly from cells that carry an additional cdiI immunity gene on a separate plasmid. These results indicate that plasmid stabilization occurs through elimination of non-immune cells arising in the population via plasmid loss. Thus, genetic stabilization reflects a strong selection for immunity to CDI. After long-term passage for more than 300 generations, CDI+ plasmids acquire mutations that increase copy number and result in 100% carriage in the population. Together, these results show that CDI stabilizes genetic elements through a toxin-mediated surveillance mechanism in which cells that lose the CDI system are detected and eliminated by their siblings.

<![CDATA[Determination and Analysis of the Putative AcaCD-Responsive Promoters of Salmonella Genomic Island 1]]>

The integrative genomic island SGI1 and its variants confer multidrug resistance in numerous Salmonella enterica serovariants and several Proteus mirabilis and Acinetobacter strains. SGI1 is mobilized by the IncA/C family plasmids. The island exploits not only the conjugation apparatus of the plasmid, but also utilizes the plasmid-encoded master regulator AcaCD to induce the excision and formation of its transfer-competent form, which is a key step in the horizontal transfer of SGI1. Triggering of SGI1 excision occurs via the AcaCD-dependent activation of xis gene expression. AcaCD binds in Pxis to an unusually long recognition sequence. Beside the Pxis promoter, upstream regions of four additional SGI1 genes, S004, S005, S012 and S018, also contain putative AcaCD-binding sites. Furthermore, SGI1 also encodes an AcaCD-related activator, FlhDCSGI1, which has no known function. Here, we have analysed the functionality of the putative AcaCD-dependent promoter regions and proved their activation by either AcaCD or FlhDCSGI1. Moreover, we provide evidence that both activators act on the same binding site in Pxis and that FlhDCSGI1 is able to complement the acaCD deletion of the IncA/C family plasmid R16a. We determined the transcription start sites for the AcaCD-responsive promoters and showed that orf S004 is expressed probably from a different start codon than predicted earlier. Additionally, expression of S003 from promoter PS004 was ruled out. Pxis and the four SGI1 promoters examined here also lack obvious -35 promoter box and their promoter profile is consistent with the class II-type activation pathway. Although the role of the four additionally analysed AcaCD/FlhDCSGI1-controlled genes in transfer and/or maintenance of SGI1 is not yet clear, the conservation of the whole region suggests the existence of some selection for their functionality.

<![CDATA[Plasmid Characterization and Chromosome Analysis of Two netF+ Clostridium perfringens Isolates Associated with Foal and Canine Necrotizing Enteritis]]>

The recent discovery of a novel beta-pore-forming toxin, NetF, which is strongly associated with canine and foal necrotizing enteritis should improve our understanding of the role of type A Clostridium perfringens associated disease in these animals. The current study presents the complete genome sequence of two netF-positive strains, JFP55 and JFP838, which were recovered from cases of foal necrotizing enteritis and canine hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, respectively. Genome sequencing was done using Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) technology-PacBio and Illumina Hiseq2000. The JFP55 and JFP838 genomes include a single 3.34 Mb and 3.53 Mb chromosome, respectively, and both genomes include five circular plasmids. Plasmid annotation revealed that three plasmids were shared by the two newly sequenced genomes, including a NetF/NetE toxins-encoding tcp-conjugative plasmid, a CPE/CPB2 toxins-encoding tcp-conjugative plasmid and a putative bacteriocin-encoding plasmid. The putative beta-pore-forming toxin genes, netF, netE and netG, were located in unique pathogenicity loci on tcp-conjugative plasmids. The C. perfringens JFP55 chromosome carries 2,825 protein-coding genes whereas the chromosome of JFP838 contains 3,014 protein-encoding genes. Comparison of these two chromosomes with three available reference C. perfringens chromosome sequences identified 48 (~247 kb) and 81 (~430 kb) regions unique to JFP55 and JFP838, respectively. Some of these divergent genomic regions in both chromosomes are phage- and plasmid-related segments. Sixteen of these unique chromosomal regions (~69 kb) were shared between the two isolates. Five of these shared regions formed a mosaic of plasmid-integrated segments, suggesting that these elements were acquired early in a clonal lineage of netF-positive C. perfringens strains. These results provide significant insight into the basis of canine and foal necrotizing enteritis and are the first to demonstrate that netF resides on a large and unique plasmid-encoded locus.

<![CDATA[QuickLib, a method for building fully synthetic plasmid libraries by seamless cloning of degenerate oligonucleotides]]>

Incorporation of synthetic degenerate oligonucleotides into plasmids for building highly diverse genetic libraries requires efficient and quantitative DNA manipulation. We present a fast and seamless method for generating libraries of PCR-synthesized plasmids designed with a degenerate sequence and short overlapping ends. Our method called QuickLib should find many applications in synthetic biology; as an example, we easily prepared genetic libraries of Escherichia coli expressing billions of different backbone cyclic peptides.

<![CDATA[Dissemination of Cephalosporin Resistance Genes between Escherichia coli Strains from Farm Animals and Humans by Specific Plasmid Lineages]]>

Third-generation cephalosporins are a class of β-lactam antibiotics that are often used for the treatment of human infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria, especially Escherichia coli. Worryingly, the incidence of human infections caused by third-generation cephalosporin-resistant E. coli is increasing worldwide. Recent studies have suggested that these E. coli strains, and their antibiotic resistance genes, can spread from food-producing animals, via the food-chain, to humans. However, these studies used traditional typing methods, which may not have provided sufficient resolution to reliably assess the relatedness of these strains. We therefore used whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to study the relatedness of cephalosporin-resistant E. coli from humans, chicken meat, poultry and pigs. One strain collection included pairs of human and poultry-associated strains that had previously been considered to be identical based on Multi-Locus Sequence Typing, plasmid typing and antibiotic resistance gene sequencing. The second collection included isolates from farmers and their pigs. WGS analysis revealed considerable heterogeneity between human and poultry-associated isolates. The most closely related pairs of strains from both sources carried 1263 Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) per Mbp core genome. In contrast, epidemiologically linked strains from humans and pigs differed by only 1.8 SNPs per Mbp core genome. WGS-based plasmid reconstructions revealed three distinct plasmid lineages (IncI1- and IncK-type) that carried cephalosporin resistance genes of the Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase (ESBL)- and AmpC-types. The plasmid backbones within each lineage were virtually identical and were shared by genetically unrelated human and animal isolates. Plasmid reconstructions from short-read sequencing data were validated by long-read DNA sequencing for two strains. Our findings failed to demonstrate evidence for recent clonal transmission of cephalosporin-resistant E. coli strains from poultry to humans, as has been suggested based on traditional, low-resolution typing methods. Instead, our data suggest that cephalosporin resistance genes are mainly disseminated in animals and humans via distinct plasmids.

<![CDATA[Type 3 Fimbriae Encoded on Plasmids Are Expressed from a Unique Promoter without Affecting Host Motility, Facilitating an Exceptional Phenotype That Enhances Conjugal Plasmid Transfer]]>

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), the transmission of genetic material to a recipient that is not the progeny of the donor, is fundamental in bacterial evolution. HGT is often mediated by mobile genetic elements such as conjugative plasmids, which may be in conflict with the chromosomal elements of the genome because they are independent replicons that may petition their own evolutionary strategy. Here we study differences between type 3 fimbriae encoded on wild type plasmids and in chromosomes. Using known and newly characterized plasmids we show that the expression of type 3 fimbriae encoded on plasmids is systematically different, as MrkH, a c-di-GMP dependent transcriptional activator is not needed for strong expression of the fimbriae. MrkH is required for expression of type 3 fimbriae of the Klebsiella pneumoniae chromosome, wherefrom the fimbriae operon (mrkABCDF) of plasmids is believed to have originated. We find that mrkABCDFs of plasmids are highly expressed via a unique promoter that differs from the original Klebsiella promoter resulting in fundamental behavioral consequences. Plasmid associated mrkABCDFs did not influence the swimming behavior of the host, that hereby acquired an exceptional phenotype being able to both actively swim (planktonic behavior) and express biofilm associated fimbriae (sessile behavior). We show that this exceptional phenotype enhances the conjugal transfer of the plasmid.

<![CDATA[Plasmid and Host Strain Characteristics of Escherichia coli Resistant to Extended-Spectrum Cephalosporins in the Norwegian Broiler Production]]>

Escherichia coli resistant to extended-spectrum cephalosporins have been detected in the Norwegian broiler production, despite the fact that antimicrobial agents are rarely used. The genetic mechanism responsible for cephalosporin resistance is mainly attributed to the presence of the blaCMY-2 gene encoding a plasmid-mediated AmpC-beta-lactamase (pAmpC). The aim of this study was to characterize and compare blaCMY-2 containing Escherichia coli isolated from the intestinal flora of broilers and retail chicken meat (fillets) to identify possible successful clones and/or resistance plasmids widespread in the Norwegian broiler production. Methods used included PCR based phylotyping, conjugation experiments, plasmid replicon typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, multiple locus variable-number tandem-repeats analysis and whole genome sequencing. The nucleotide sequence of an IncK plasmid carrying blaCMY-2 was determined. Intestinal isolates displayed a higher degree of genetic diversity than meat isolates. A cluster of genetically related isolates belonging to ST38, phylogroup D, carrying blaCMY-2 containing IncK plasmids was identified. Furthermore, genes encoding plasmid stability systems (relBE/stbDE and pndAC) were identified on the IncK plasmid. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis of a subset of isolates confirmed a close genetic relationship within the two most prevalent STs. The IncK plasmids within these two STs also shared a high degree of similarity. Cephalosporin-resistant E. coli with the same genetic characteristics have been identified in the broiler production in other European countries, and the IncK plasmid characterized in this study showed close homology to a plasmid isolated from retail chicken meat in the Netherlands. The results indicate that both clonal expansion and horizontal transfer of blaCMY-2 containing plasmids contribute to dissemination of cephalosporin resistant E. coli in the broiler production. The presence of plasmid stability systems may explain why the IncK plasmid containing blaCMY-2 is maintained and disseminated in the Norwegian broiler production in absence of selection pressure from the use of antimicrobial agents.

<![CDATA[Multiple and Diverse vsp and vlp Sequences in Borrelia miyamotoi, a Hard Tick-Borne Zoonotic Pathogen]]>

Based on chromosome sequences, the human pathogen Borrelia miyamotoi phylogenetically clusters with species that cause relapsing fever. But atypically for relapsing fever agents, B. miyamotoi is transmitted not by soft ticks but by hard ticks, which also are vectors of Lyme disease Borrelia species. To further assess the relationships of B. miyamotoi to species that cause relapsing fever, I investigated extrachromosomal sequences of a North American strain with specific attention on plasmid-borne vsp and vlp genes, which are the underpinnings of antigenic variation during relapsing fever. For a hybrid approach to achieve assemblies that spanned more than one of the paralogous vsp and vlp genes, a database of short-reads from next-generation sequencing was supplemented with long-reads obtained with real-time DNA sequencing from single polymerase molecules. This yielded three contigs of 31, 16, and 11 kb, which each contained multiple and diverse sequences that were homologous to vsp and vlp genes of the relapsing fever agent B. hermsii. Two plasmid fragments had coding sequences for plasmid partition proteins that differed from each other from paralogous proteins for the megaplasmid and a small plasmid of B. miyamotoi. One of 4 vsp genes, vsp1, was present at two loci, one of which was downstream of a candiate prokaryotic promoter. A limited RNA-seq analysis of a population growing in the blood of mice indicated that of the 4 different vsp genes vsp1 was the one that was expressed. The findings indicate that B. miyamotoi has at least four types of plasmids, two or more of which bear vsp and vlp gene sequences that are as numerous and diverse as those of relapsing fever Borrelia. The database and insights from these findings provide a foundation for further investigations of the immune responses to this pathogen and of the capability of B. miyamotoi for antigenic variation.

<![CDATA[Salmonella genomic island 1 (SGI1) reshapes the mating apparatus of IncC conjugative plasmids to promote self-propagation]]>

IncC conjugative plasmids and Salmonella genomic island 1 (SGI1) and relatives are frequently associated with multidrug resistance of clinical isolates of pathogenic Enterobacteriaceae. SGI1 is specifically mobilized in trans by IncA and IncC plasmids (commonly referred to as A/C plasmids) following its excision from the chromosome, an event triggered by the transcriptional activator complex AcaCD encoded by these helper plasmids. Although SGI1 is not self-transmissible, it carries three genes, traNS, traHS and traGS, coding for distant homologs of the predicted mating pore subunits TraNC, TraHC and TraGC, respectively, encoded by A/C plasmids. Here we investigated the regulation of traNS and traHGS and the role of these three genes in the transmissibility of SGI1. Transcriptional fusion of the promoter sequences of traNS and traHGS to the reporter gene lacZ confirmed that expression of these genes is inducible by AcaCD. Mating experiments using combinations of deletion mutants of SGI1 and the helper IncC plasmid pVCR94 revealed complex interactions between these two mobile genetic elements. Whereas traNC and traHGC are essential for IncC plasmid transfer, SGI1 could rescue null mutants of each individual gene revealing that TraNS, TraHS and TraGS are functional proteins. Complementation assays of individual traC and traS mutants showed that not only do TraNS/HS/GS replace TraNC/HC/GC in the mating pore encoded by IncC plasmids but also that traGS and traHS are both required for SGI1 optimal transfer. In fact, remodeling of the IncC-encoded mating pore by SGI1 was found to be essential to enhance transfer rate of SGI1 over the helper plasmid. Furthermore, traGS was found to be crucial to allow DNA transfer between cells bearing IncC helper plasmids, thereby suggesting that by remodeling the mating pore SGI1 disables an IncC-encoded entry exclusion mechanism. Hence traS genes facilitate the invasion by SGI1 of cell populations bearing IncC plasmids.

<![CDATA[Addgene: Making Materials Sharing “Science As Usual”]]>

Addgene: Making Materials Sharing “Science As Usual” Addgene, the nonprofit plasmid repository, facilitates sharing of plasmids and data. Addgene's mission is to accelerate research and discovery by helping scientists collaborate.

<![CDATA[Localization of Low Copy Number Plasmid pRC4 in Replicating Rod and Non-Replicating Cocci Cells of Rhodococcus erythropolis PR4]]>

Rhodococcus are gram-positive bacteria, which can exist in two different shapes rod and cocci. A number of studies have been done in the past on replication and stability of small plasmids in this bacterium; however, there are no reports on spatial localization and segregation of these plasmids. In the present study, a low copy number plasmid pDS3 containing pRC4 replicon was visualized in growing cells of Rhodococcus erythropolis PR4 (NBRC100887) using P1 parS-ParB-GFP system. Cells were initially cocci and then became rod shaped in exponential phase. Cocci cells were found to be non-replicating as evident by the presence of single fluorescence focus corresponding to the plasmid and diffuse fluorescence of DnaB-GFP. Rod shaped cells contained plasmid either present as one fluorescent focus observed at the cell center or two foci localized at quarter positions. The results suggest that the plasmid is replicated at the cell center and then it goes to quarter position. In order to observe the localization of plasmid with respect to nucleoid, plasmid segregation was also studied in filaments where it was found to be replicated at the cell center in a nucleoid free region. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on segregation of small plasmids in R. erythropolis.

<![CDATA[Orderly Replication and Segregation of the Four Replicons of Burkholderia cenocepacia J2315]]>

Bacterial genomes typically consist of a single chromosome and, optionally, one or more plasmids. But whole-genome sequencing reveals about ten per-cent of them to be multipartite, with additional replicons which by size and indispensability are considered secondary chromosomes. This raises the questions of how their replication and partition is managed without compromising genome stability and of how such genomes arose. Vibrio cholerae, with a 1 Mb replicon in addition to its 3 Mb chromosome, is the only species for which maintenance of a multipartite genome has been investigated. In this study we have explored the more complex genome of Burkholderia cenocepacia (strain J2315). It comprises an extra replicon (c2) of 3.21 Mb, comparable in size to the3.87Mb main chromosome (c1), another extra replicon(c3) of 0.87 Mb and a plasmid of 0.09 Mb. The replication origin of c1 is typically chromosomal and those of c2 and c3 are plasmid-like; all are replicated bidirectionally. Fluorescence microscopy of tagged origins indicates that all initiate replication at mid-cell and segregate towards the cell quarter positions sequentially, c1-c2-p1/c3. c2 segregation is as well-phased with the cell cycle as c1, implying that this plasmid-like origin has become subject to regulation not typical of plasmids; in contrast, c3 segregates more randomly through the cycle. Disruption of individual Par systems by deletion of parAB or by addition of parS sites showed each Par system to govern the positioning of its own replicon only. Inactivation of c1, c2 and c3 Par systems not only reduced growth rate, generated anucleate cells and compromised viability but influenced processes beyond replicon partition, notably regulation of replication, chromosome condensation and cell size determination. In particular, the absence of the c1 ParA protein altered replication of all three chromosomes, suggesting that the partition system of the main chromosome is a major participant in the choreography of the cell cycle.

<![CDATA[High Heterogeneity of Escherichia coli Sequence Types Harbouring ESBL/AmpC Genes on IncI1 Plasmids in the Colombian Poultry Chain]]>


Escherichia coli producing ESBL/AmpC enzymes are unwanted in animal production chains as they may pose a risk to human and animal health. Molecular characterization of plasmids and strains carrying genes that encode these enzymes is essential to understand their local and global spread.


To investigate the diversity of genes, plasmids and strains in ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli from the Colombian poultry chain isolated within the Colombian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (Coipars).


A total of 541 non-clinical E. coli strains from epidemiologically independent samples and randomly isolated between 2008 and 2013 within the Coipars program were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility. Poultry isolates resistant to cefotaxime (MIC ≥ 4 mg/L) were screened for ESBL/AmpC genes including blaCTX-M, blaSHV, blaTEM, blaCMY and blaOXA. Plasmid and strain characterization was performed for a selection of the ESBL/AmpC-producing isolates. Plasmids were purified and transformed into E. coli DH10B cells or transferred by conjugation to E. coli W3110. When applicable, PCR Based Replicon Typing (PBRT), plasmid Multi Locus Sequence Typing (pMLST), plasmid Double Locus Sequence Typing (pDLST) and/or plasmid Replicon Sequence Typing (pRST) was performed on resulting transformants and conjugants. Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) was used for strain characterization.


In total, 132 of 541 isolates were resistant to cefotaxime and 122 were found to carry ESBL/AmpC genes. Ninety-two harboured blaCMY-2 (75%), fourteen blaSHV-12 (11%), three blaSHV-5 (2%), five blaCTX-M-2 (4%), one blaCTX-M-15 (1%), one blaCTX-M-8 (1%), four a combination of blaCMY-2 and blaSHV-12 (4%) and two a combination of blaCMY-2 and blaSHV-5 (2%). A selection of 39 ESBL/AmpC-producing isolates was characterized at the plasmid and strain level. ESBL/AmpC genes from 36 isolates were transferable by transformation or conjugation of which 22 were located on IncI1 plasmids. These IncI1 plasmids harboured predominantly blaCMY-2 (16/22), and to a lesser extend blaSHV-12 (5/22) and blaCTX-M-8 (1/22). Other plasmid families associated with ESBL/AmpC-genes were IncK (4/33), IncHI2 (3/33), IncA/C (2/33), IncΒ/O (1/33) and a non-typeable replicon (1/33). Subtyping of IncI1 and IncHI2 demonstrated IncI1/ST12 was predominantly associated with blaCMY-2 (12/16) and IncHI2/ST7 with blaCTX-M-2 (2/3). Finally, 31 different STs were detected among the 39 selected isolates.


Resistance to extended spectrum cephalosporins in E. coli from Colombian poultry is mainly caused by blaCMY-2 and blaSHV-12. The high diversity of strain Sequence Types and the dissemination of homogeneous IncI1/ST12 plasmids suggest that spread of the resistance is mainly mediated by horizontal gene transfer.

<![CDATA[Interaction between Conjugative and Retrotransposable Elements in Horizontal Gene Transfer]]>

Mobile genetic elements either encode their own mobilization machineries or hijack them from other mobile elements. Multiple classes of mobile elements often coexist within genomes and it is unclear whether they have the capacity to functionally interact and even collaborate. We investigate the possibility that molecular machineries of disparate mobile elements may functionally interact, using the example of a retrotransposon, in the form of a mobile group II intron, found on a conjugative plasmid pRS01 in Lactococcus lactis. This intron resides within the pRS01 ltrB gene encoding relaxase, the enzyme required for nicking the transfer origin (oriT) for conjugal transmission of the plasmid into a recipient cell. Here, we show that relaxase stimulates both the frequency and diversity of retrotransposition events using a retromobility indicator gene (RIG), and by developing a high-throughput genomic retrotransposition detection system called RIG-Seq. We demonstrate that LtrB relaxase not only nicks ssDNA of its cognate oriT in a sequence- and strand-specific manner, but also possesses weak off-target activity. Together, the data support a model in which the two different mobile elements, one using an RNA-based mechanism, the other using DNA-based transfer, do functionally interact. Intron splicing facilitates relaxase expression required for conjugation, whereas relaxase introduces spurious nicks in recipient DNA that stimulate both the frequency of intron mobility and the density of events. We hypothesize that this functional interaction between the mobile elements would promote horizontal conjugal gene transfer while stimulating intron dissemination in the donor and recipient cells.