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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2019 Jan 3. pii: S0924-8579(18)30383-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2018.12.013. [Epub ahead of print]

Interspecies DNA acquisition by a naturally competent Acinetobacter baumannii strain.

Author information

1
Laboratorio de Bacteriología Clínica, Departamento de Bioquímica Clínica, Hospital de Clínicas José de San Martín, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2
Center for Applied Biotechnology Studies, Department of Biological Science, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, California State University Fullerton, Fullerton, California, USA.
3
Instituto de Microbiología y Parasitología Médica (IMPaM, UBA-CONICET), Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
4
Instituto de Investigaciones Biotecnológicas "Dr. Rodolfo A. Ugalde," Instituto Tecnológico de Chascomús, CONICET, Universidad Nacional de San Martín Buenos Aires, Argentina.
5
Laboratorio de Biología Computacional, Dpto. de Desarrollo Biotecnológico, Instituto de Higiene, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay.
6
Research Service, Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
7
Public Health Ontario Laboratories, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
8
Center for Applied Biotechnology Studies, Department of Biological Science, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, California State University Fullerton, Fullerton, California, USA. Electronic address: msramirez@fullerton.edu.

Abstract

The human pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii possesses high genetic plasticity and frequently acquires antibiotic resistance genes. Here, we investigate the role of natural transformation in these processes. Genomic DNA (gDNA) from different sources including that from carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKp) strains was mixed with A. baumannii A118 cells. Selected transformants were analyzed by whole genome sequencing. In addition, bioinformatic analyses and in silico gene flow prediction were also performed to support our experimental results. Transformant strains included some that became resistant to carbapenem or changed the antibiotic susceptibility profile. Foreign DNA acquisition was confirmed by whole genome analysis. The acquired DNA that was most frequently identified corresponded to mobile elements, antibiotic resistance genes, and operons involved in metabolism. Bioinformatic analyses and in silico gene flow prediction showed continued exchange of genetic material between A. baumannii and K. pneumoniae when they share the same habitat. Natural transformation plays an important role in the plasticity of A. baumannii and concomitantly in the emergence of MDR strains.

KEYWORDS:

Acinetobacter baumannii; Antibiotic resistance; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Natural transformation

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