Elevated mutagenesis does not explain the increased frequency of antibiotic resistant mutants in starved aging colonies.
ABSTRACT: The frequency of mutants resistant to the antibiotic rifampicin has been shown to increase in aging (starved), compared to young colonies of Escherichia coli. These increases in resistance frequency occur in the absence of any antibiotic exposure, and similar increases have also been observed in response to additional growth limiting conditions. Understanding the causes of such increases in the frequency of resistance is important for understanding the dynamics of antibiotic resistance emergence and spread. Increased frequency of rifampicin resistant mutants in aging colonies is cited widely as evidence of stress-induced mutagenesis (SIM), a mechanism thought to allow bacteria to increase mutation rates upon exposure to growth-limiting stresses. At the same time it has been demonstrated that some rifampicin resistant mutants are relatively fitter in aging compared to young colonies, indicating that natural selection may also contribute to increased frequency of rifampicin resistance in aging colonies. Here, we demonstrate that the frequency of mutants resistant to both rifampicin and an additional antibiotic (nalidixic-acid) significantly increases in aging compared to young colonies of a lab strain of Escherichia coli. We then use whole genome sequencing to demonstrate conclusively that SIM cannot explain the observed magnitude of increased frequency of resistance to these two antibiotics. We further demonstrate that, as was previously shown for rifampicin resistance mutations, mutations conferring nalidixic acid resistance can also increase fitness in aging compared to young colonies. Our results show that increases in the frequency of antibiotic resistant mutants in aging colonies cannot be seen as evidence of SIM. Furthermore, they demonstrate that natural selection likely contributes to increases in the frequency of certain antibiotic resistance mutations, even when no selection is exerted due to the presence of antibiotics.
Project description:The emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens are a global crisis. Because many bacterial infections are caused by pathogens that reside in biofilms, we sought to investigate how biofilms influence the evolution of antibiotic resistance. We hypothesize that the inherent spatial structure of biofilms facilitates the accumulation and persistence of spontaneously evolved antibiotic-resistant mutants. To test this, we tracked the frequency of mutants resistant to kanamycin and rifampicin in biofilm populations of Escherichia coli before, during, and after an antibiotic treatment regimen. Our results show that biofilms accumulate resistant mutants even in the absence of antibiotics. This resistance was found to be heritable and thus unlike the phenotypic plasticity of so-called "persister cells" that have been shown to occur in biofilms. Upon exposure to an antibiotic, resistant mutants swept to high frequency. Following the conclusion of treatment, these resistant mutants remained at unexpectedly high frequencies in the biofilms for over 45 days. In contrast, when samples from kanamycin-treated biofilms were used to found well-mixed liquid cultures and propagated by serial transfer, the frequency of resistant cells dramatically decreased as they were outcompeted by sensitive clones. These observations suggest that the emergence of antibiotic resistance through spontaneous mutations in spatially structured biofilms may significantly contribute to the emergence and persistence of mutants that are resistant to antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections.
Project description:Antibiotic-resistant isolates of Salmonella enterica were selected on plates containing lethal concentrations of rifampicin, kanamycin, and nalidixic acid. The stability of the resistance phenotype was scored after nonselective growth. Rifampicin-resistant (Rif(r)) isolates were stable, suggesting that they had arisen by mutation. Mutations in the rpoB gene were detected indeed in Rif(r) mutants. In contrast, a fraction of kanamycin-resistant (Km(r)) and nalidixic acid-resistant (Nal(r)) isolates showed reduced resistance after nonselective growth, suggesting that mechanisms other than mutation had contributed to bacterial survival upon lethal selection. Single-cell analysis revealed heterogeneity in expression of the porin gene ompC, and subpopulation separation provided evidence that reduced ompC expression confers adaptive resistance to kanamycin. In the case of Nal(r) isolates, mutations in the gyrA gene were present in most nalidixic acid-resistant isolates. However, the efflux pump inhibitor Phe-Arg-?-naphtylamide (PA?N) reduced the level of resistance in Nal(r) mutants, indicating that active efflux contributes to the overall level of nalidixic acid resistance. Heterogeneous efflux pump activity was detected in single cells and colonies, and a correlation between high efflux and increased resistance to nalidixic acid was found. These observations suggest that fluctuations in the expression and the activity of critical functions of the bacterial cell, alone or combined with mutations, can contribute to adaptive resistance to antibiotics.
Project description:The objective was to develop and characterise in vitro Bartonella bacilliformis antibiotic resistant mutants. Three B. bacilliformis strains were plated 35 or 40 times with azithromycin, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin or rifampicin discs. Resistance-stability was assessed performing 5 serial passages without antibiotic pressure. MICs were determined with/without Phe-Arg-β-Napthylamide and artesunate. Target alterations were screened in the 23S rRNA, rplD, rplV, gyrA, gyrB, parC, parE and rpoB genes. Chloramphenicol and ciprofloxacin resistance were the most difficult and easiest (>37.3 and 10.6 passages) to be selected, respectively. All mutants but one selected with chloramphenicol achieved high resistance levels. All rifampicin, one azithromycin and one ciprofloxacin mutants did not totally revert when cultured without antibiotic pressure. Azithromycin resistance was related to L4 substitutions Gln-66 → Lys or Gly-70 → Arg; L4 deletion Δ<sub>62-65</sub> (Lys-Met-Tyr-Lys) or L22 insertion 83::Val-Ser-Glu-Ala-His-Val-Gly-Lys-Ser; in two chloramphenicol-resistant mutants the 23S rRNA mutation G2372A was detected. GyrA Ala-91 → Val and Asp-95 → Gly and GyrB Glu474 → Lys were detected in ciprofloxacin-resistant mutants. RpoB substitutions Gln-527 → Arg, His-540 → Tyr and Ser-545 → Phe plus Ser-588 → Tyr were detected in rifampicin-resistant mutants. In 5 mutants the effect of efflux pumps on resistance was observed. Antibiotic resistance was mainly related to target mutations and overexpression of efflux pumps, which might underlie microbiological failures during treatments.
Project description:Corallopyronin A (CorA) is active against Gram-positive bacteria and targets the switch region of RNA polymerase. Because of the high frequency of mutation (FoM) leading to rifampicin resistance, we determined the CorA FoM in <i>S. aureus</i> using fluctuation analysis at 4 × minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). Resistant mutants were characterized. <i>S. aureus</i> strains HG001, Mu50, N315, and USA300 had an MIC