Mobile antibiotic resistance encoding elements promote their own diversity.
ABSTRACT: Integrating conjugative elements (ICEs) are a class of bacterial mobile genetic elements that disseminate via conjugation and then integrate into the host cell genome. The SXT/R391 family of ICEs consists of more than 30 different elements that all share the same integration site in the host chromosome but often encode distinct properties. These elements contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance genes in several gram-negative bacteria including Vibrio cholerae, the agent of cholera. Here, using comparative analyses of the genomes of several SXT/R391 ICEs, we found evidence that the genomes of these elements have been shaped by inter-ICE recombination. We developed a high throughput semi-quantitative method to explore the genetic determinants involved in hybrid ICE formation. Recombinant ICE formation proved to be relatively frequent, and to depend on host (recA) and ICE (s065 and s066) loci, which can independently and potentially cooperatively mediate hybrid ICE formation. s065 and s066, which are found in all SXT/R391 ICEs, are orthologues of the bacteriophage lambda Red recombination genes bet and exo, and the s065/s066 recombination system is the first Red-like recombination pathway to be described in a conjugative element. Neither ICE excision nor conjugative transfer proved to be essential for generation of hybrid ICEs. Instead conjugation facilitates the segregation of hybrids and could provide a means to select for functional recombinant ICEs containing novel combinations of genes conferring resistance to antibiotics. Thus, ICEs promote their own diversity and can yield novel mobile elements capable of disseminating new combinations of antibiotic resistance genes.
Project description:Integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) of the SXT/R391 family have been recognized as key drivers of antibiotic resistance dissemination in the seventh-pandemic lineage of Vibrio cholerae. SXT/R391 ICEs propagate by conjugation and integrate site-specifically into the chromosome of a wide range of environmental and clinical Gammaproteobacteria. SXT/R391 ICEs bear setC and setD, two conserved genes coding for a transcriptional activator complex that is essential for activation of conjugative transfer. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with exonuclease digestion (ChIP-exo) and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to characterize the SetCD regulon of three representative members of the SXT/R391 family. We also identified the DNA sequences bound by SetCD in MGIVflInd1, a mobilizable genomic island phylogenetically unrelated to SXT/R391 ICEs that hijacks the conjugative machinery of these ICEs to drive its own transfer. SetCD was found to bind a 19-bp sequence that is consistently located near the promoter -35 element of SetCD-activated genes, a position typical of class II transcriptional activators. Furthermore, we refined our understanding of the regulation of excision from and integration into the chromosome for SXT/R391 ICEs and demonstrated that de novo expression of SetCD is crucial to allow integration of the incoming ICE DNA into a naive host following conjugative transfer.
Project description:Integrating and conjugative elements (ICEs) are one of the three principal types of self-transmissible mobile genetic elements in bacteria. ICEs, like plasmids, transfer via conjugation; but unlike plasmids and similar to many phages, these elements integrate into and replicate along with the host chromosome. Members of the SXT/R391 family of ICEs have been isolated from several species of gram-negative bacteria, including Vibrio cholerae, the cause of cholera, where they have been important vectors for disseminating genes conferring resistance to antibiotics. Here we developed a plasmid-based system to capture and isolate SXT/R391 ICEs for sequencing. Comparative analyses of the genomes of 13 SXT/R391 ICEs derived from diverse hosts and locations revealed that they contain 52 perfectly syntenic and nearly identical core genes that serve as a scaffold capable of mobilizing an array of variable DNA. Furthermore, selection pressure to maintain ICE mobility appears to have restricted insertions of variable DNA into intergenic sites that do not interrupt core functions. The variable genes confer diverse element-specific phenotypes, such as resistance to antibiotics. Functional analysis of a set of deletion mutants revealed that less than half of the conserved core genes are required for ICE mobility; the functions of most of the dispensable core genes are unknown. Several lines of evidence suggest that there has been extensive recombination between SXT/R391 ICEs, resulting in re-assortment of their respective variable gene content. Furthermore, our analyses suggest that there may be a network of phylogenetic relationships among sequences found in all types of mobile genetic elements.
Project description:Integrative and Conjugative Elements (ICEs) of the SXT/R391 family disseminate multidrug resistance among pathogenic Gammaproteobacteria such as Vibrio cholerae. SXT/R391 ICEs are mobile genetic elements that reside in the chromosome of their host and eventually self-transfer to other bacteria by conjugation. Conjugative transfer of SXT/R391 ICEs involves a transient extrachromosomal circular plasmid-like form that is thought to be the substrate for single-stranded DNA translocation to the recipient cell through the mating pore. This plasmid-like form is thought to be non-replicative and is consequently expected to be highly unstable. We report here that the ICE R391 of Providencia rettgeri is impervious to loss upon cell division. We have investigated the genetic determinants contributing to R391 stability. First, we found that a hipAB-like toxin/antitoxin system improves R391 stability as its deletion resulted in a tenfold increase of R391 loss. Because hipAB is not a conserved feature of SXT/R391 ICEs, we sought for alternative and conserved stabilization mechanisms. We found that conjugation itself does not stabilize R391 as deletion of traG, which abolishes conjugative transfer, did not influence the frequency of loss. However, deletion of either the relaxase-encoding gene traI or the origin of transfer (oriT) led to a dramatic increase of R391 loss correlated with a copy number decrease of its plasmid-like form. This observation suggests that replication initiated at oriT by TraI is essential not only for conjugative transfer but also for stabilization of SXT/R391 ICEs. Finally, we uncovered srpMRC, a conserved locus coding for two proteins distantly related to the type II (actin-type ATPase) parMRC partitioning system of plasmid R1. R391 and plasmid stabilization assays demonstrate that srpMRC is active and contributes to reducing R391 loss. While partitioning systems usually stabilizes low-copy plasmids, srpMRC is the first to be reported that stabilizes a family of ICEs.
Project description:Integrating conjugative elements (ICEs) are mobile genetic elements that can transfer from the chromosome of a host to the chromosome of a new host through the process of excision, conjugation, and integration. Although SXT/R391-related ICEs, originally demonstrated in Vibrio cholerae O139 isolates, have become prevalent among V. cholerae isolates in Asia, the prevalence of the ICEs among gram-negative bacteria other than Vibrio spp. remains unknown. In addition, SXT/R391-related ICEs carrying genes conferring resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins have never been described. Here we carried out a genetic analysis of a cefoxitin-resistant Proteus mirabilis clinical isolate, TUM4660, which revealed the presence of a novel SXT/R391-related ICE, ICEPmiJpn1. ICEPmiJpn1 had a core genetic structure showing high similarity to that of R391 and carried xis and int genes completely identical to those of R391, while an IS10-mediated composite transposon carrying bla(CMY-2) was integrated into the ICE. A nucleotide sequence identical to the 3' part of ISEcp1 was located upstream of the bla(CMY-2) gene, and other genes observed around bla(CMY-2) in earlier studies were also present. Furthermore, the nucleotide sequences of hot spot 2 and hot spot 4 in ICEPmiJpn1 showed high similarity to that of hot spot 2 in SXT(MO10) and with a part of the nucleotide sequence found in P. mirabilis ATCC 29906, respectively. ICEPmiJpn1 was successfully transferred to Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, and Citrobacter koseri in conjugation experiments. These observations suggest that ICEs may contribute to the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance genes among clinically relevant Enterobacteriaceae, which warrants careful observation of the prevalence of ICEs, including SXT/R391-related ICEs.
Project description:SXT/R391 integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) were detected in 8 out of 125 Proteus mirabilis isolates from food-producing animals in China. Whole-genome sequencing revealed that seven ICEs were identical to ICEPmiJpn1, carrying the cephalosporinase gene blaCMY-2. Another one, designated ICEPmiChn1, carried five resistance genes. All eight ICEs could be transferred to Escherichia coli via conjugation. The results highlight the idea that animal farms are important reservoir of the SXT/R391 ICE-containing P. mirabilis.
Project description:Mobilizable genomic islands (MGIs) are small genomic islands that are mobilizable by SXT/R391 integrating conjugative elements (ICEs) due to similar origins of transfer. Their site-specific integration and excision are catalyzed by the integrase that they encode, but their conjugative transfer entirely depends upon the conjugative machinery of SXT/R391 ICEs. In this study, we report the mechanisms that control the excision and integration processes of MGIs. We found that while the MGI-encoded integrase Int(MGI) is sufficient to promote MGI integration, efficient excision from the host chromosome requires the combined action of Int(MGI) and of a novel recombination directionality factor, RdfM. We determined that the genes encoding these proteins are activated by SetCD, the main transcriptional activators of SXT/R391 ICEs. Although they share the same regulators, we found that unlike rdfM, int(MGI) has a basal level of expression in the absence of SetCD. These findings explain how an MGI can integrate into the chromosome of a new host in the absence of a coresident ICE and shed new light on the cross talk that can occur between mobilizable and mobilizing elements that mobilize them, helping us to understand part of the rules that dictate horizontal transfer mechanisms.
Project description:The genus Marinomonas comprises Gram negative bacteria which are widespread in the marine environment and there is no report on the genomic analysis of SXT/R391 ICEs derived from this group of bacteria. This study describes the genomic features of three new SXT/R391 integrating conjugating elements (ICEs) identified in the genome of Marinomonas fungiae JCM 18476T (ICEMfuInd1a and ICEMfuInd1b) and in Marinomonas profundimaris strain D104 (ICEMprChn1). Structural organizations of the three ICEs were similar to the typical SXT/R391 family of ICEs and showed high degree of conservation in the core genes. Sequence analysis revealed ICEMfuInd1b and ICEMprChn1 were inserted into the genome at 5'-end of an typical host prfC gene, while ICEMfuInd1a was inserted at 5'-end of an atypical hipA-like gene. Despite their coexistence, the ICEMfuInd1a and ICEMfuInd1b were not present in a tandem fashion in the genome of M. fungiae. Phylogenetic analyses revealed the three ICEs either evolved independently or high degrees of recombination events had masked their evolution from a common SXT ancestor. Further, we found that the typical entry exclusion mechanism mediated by the TraG/EeX protein pair was likely defective in preventing the conjugative transfer of a second copy of the same S (SXT) group ICE into the M. fungiae genome due to mutations. Our analysis showed the presence of 16, 25, and 27 variable genes in the hotspots of ICEMfuInd1a, ICEMfuInd1b, and ICEMprChn1, respectively, many of which were not reported earlier for SXT/R391 ICEs. Sequence analysis predicted these hotspot regions were shaped by acquisition of genes through homologous recombination between the SXT and R391 related ICEs or mobile genetic elements present in disparate marine bacteria. Multidrug resistance genes which are hallmark feature of SXT/R391 ICEs were not present in either of the two ICEs from M. fungiae but were present within a transposon cassette in the HS-1 of the ICEMprChn1 from M. profundimaris. Finally, our data provided information on the genetic diversity and predicted functions encoded by variable genes present in the hotspot regions of these new ICEs.
Project description:UNLABELLED:SXT-R391 Integrative conjugative elements (ICEs) are self-transmissible mobile genetic elements able to confer multidrug resistance and other adaptive features to bacterial hosts, including Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera. ICEs are arranged in a mosaic genetic structure composed of a conserved backbone interspersed with variable DNA clusters located in conserved hot spots. In this study, we investigated ICE acquisition and subsequent microevolution in pandemic V. cholerae. Ninety-six ICEs were retrieved from publicly available sequence databases from V. cholerae clinical strains and were compared to a set of reference ICEs. Comparative genomics highlighted the existence of five main ICE groups with a distinct genetic makeup, exemplified by ICEVchInd5, ICEVchMoz10, SXT, ICEVchInd6, and ICEVchBan11. ICEVchInd5 (the most frequent element, represented by 70 of 96 elements analyzed) displayed no sequence rearrangements and was characterized by 46 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). SNP analysis revealed that recent inter-ICE homologous recombination between ICEVchInd5 and other ICEs circulating in gammaproteobacteria generated ICEVchMoz10, ICEVchInd6, and ICEVchBan11. Bayesian phylogenetic analyses indicated that ICEVchInd5 and SXT were independently acquired by the current pandemic V. cholerae O1 and O139 lineages, respectively, within a period of only a few years. IMPORTANCE:SXT-R391 ICEs have been recognized as key vectors of antibiotic resistance in the seventh-pandemic lineage of V. cholerae, which remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity on a global scale. ICEs were acquired only recently in this clade and are acknowledged to be major contributors to horizontal gene transfer and the acquisition of new traits in bacterial species. We have reconstructed the temporal dynamics of SXT-R391 ICE acquisition and spread and have identified subsequent recombination events generating significant diversity in ICEs currently circulating among V. cholerae clinical strains. Our results showed that acquisition of SXT-R391 ICEs provided the V. cholerae seventh-pandemic lineage not only with a multidrug resistance phenotype but also with a powerful molecular tool for rapidly accessing the pan-genome of a large number of gammaproteobacteria.
Project description:SXT/R391 integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) are self-transmissible mobile genetic elements that are found in most members of Enterobacteriaceae. Here, we determined fifteen SXT/R391 ICEs carried by Proteus isolates from food (4.2%) and diarrhoea patients (17.3%). BLASTn searches against GenBank showed that the fifteen SXT/R391 ICEs were closely related to that from different Enterobacteriaceae species, including Proteus mirabilis. Using core gene phylogenetic analysis, the fifteen SXT/R391 ICEs were grouped into six distinct clusters, including a dominant cluster and three clusters that have not been previously reported in Proteus isolates. The SXT/R391 ICEs shared a common structure with a set of conserved genes, five hotspots and two variable regions, which contained more foreign genes, including drug-resistance genes. Notably, a class A ?-lactamase gene was identified in nine SXT/R391 ICEs. Collectively, the ICE-carrying isolates carried resistance genes for 20 tested drugs. Six isolates were resistant to chloramphenicol, kanamycin, streptomycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, sulfisoxazole and tetracycline, which are drug resistances commonly encoded by ICEs. Our results demonstrate abundant genetic diversity and multidrug resistance of the SXT/R391 ICEs carried by Proteus isolates, which may have significance for public health. It is therefore necessary to continuously monitor the antimicrobial resistance and related mobile elements among Proteus isolates.
Project description:Integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs) are mobile genetic elements that contribute to horizontal gene transfer. The aim of this work was to study different types of ICEs in clinical isolates of the emergent pathogen Shewanella spp., to compare their transfer efficiency and their ability to integrate a new host. Here we show that 3 out of 10 clinical isolates contained an ICE. Two of these elements were similar to ICEs from the SXT/R391 family and the other one was similar to ICESh95, a hybrid platform. Mating assays showed that these elements co-exist for several generations in the same host. Furthermore, transfer rates and competition assays between ICESh95 and ICESh392, an SXT-like element, suggest that the latter has evolved into a well-oiled machine that efficiently spread to different bacteria. Our results provide strong evidence of the role that ICEs play in the dissemination of genetic traits in nature and the implications that they have in the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.