1887

Abstract

Carbapenem-resistant (CRKP) remains a major clinical pathogen and public health threat with few therapeutic options. The mobilome, resistome, methylome, virulome and phylogeography of CRKP in South Africa and globally were characterized. CRKP collected in 2018 were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, screening by multiplex PCR, genotyping by repetitive element palindromic (REP)-PCR, plasmid size, number, incompatibility and mobility analyses, and PacBio’s SMRT sequencing (=6). There were 56 multidrug-resistant CRKP, having -like and carbapenemases on self-transmissible IncF, A/C, IncL/M and IncX plasmids endowed with prophages, , resistance islands, and type I and II restriction modification systems (RMS). Plasmids and clades detected in this study were respectively related to globally established/disseminated plasmids clades/clones, evincing transboundary horizontal and vertical dissemination. Reduced susceptibility to colistin occurred in 23 strains. Common clones included ST307, ST607, ST17, ST39 and ST3559. IncFII virulent plasmid replicon was present in 56 strains. Whole-genome sequencing of six strains revealed least 41 virulence genes, extensive ompK36 mutations, and four different K- and O-loci types: KL2, KL25, KL27, KL102, O1, O2, O4 and O5. Types I, II and III RMS, conferring m6A (GTC, GTGNNNNNNTTG, CANNNNNNCATC motifs) and m4C (CWGG) modifications on chromosomes and plasmids, were found. The nature of plasmid-mediated, clonal and multi-clonal dissemination of bla-like and bla mirrors epidemiological trends observed for closely related plasmids and sequence types internationally. Worryingly, the presence of both and in the same isolates was observed. Plasmid-mediated transmission of RMS, virulome and prophages influence bacterial evolution, epidemiology, pathogenicity and resistance, threatening infection treatment. The influence of RMS on antimicrobial and bacteriophage therapy needs urgent investigation.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • National Health Laboratory Service
    • Principle Award Recipient: Nontombi M Mbelle
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License.
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2020-11-10
2021-10-21
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