Interspecies DNA acquisition by a naturally competent Acinetobacter baumannii strain.
Traglia, G. M., Place, K., Dotto, C., Fernandez, J. S., Montana, S., Bahiense, C. D. S., Soler-Bistue, A., Iriarte, A., Perez, F., Tolmasky, M. E., Bonomo, R. A., Melano, R. G. and Ramirez, M. S.
Laboratorio de Bacteriologia Clinica, Departamento de Bioquimica Clinica, Hospital de Clinicas Jose de San Martin, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquimica, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Center for Applied Biotechnology Studies, Department of Biological Science, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, California State University Fullerton, Fullerton, California, USA.
Instituto de Microbiologia y Parasitologia Medica (IMPaM, UBA-CONICET), Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Instituto de Investigaciones Biotecnologicas 'Dr Rodolfo A. Ugalde', Instituto Tecnologico de Chascomus, CONICET, Universidad Nacional de San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Laboratorio de Biologia Computacional, Dpto. de Desarrollo Biotecnologico, Instituto de Higiene, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Uruguay.
Research Service, Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
Public Health Ontario Laboratories, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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.
The human pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii possesses high genetic plasticity and frequently acquires antimicrobial resistance genes. Here we investigated the role of natural transformation in these processes. Genomic DNA from different sources, including from carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae strains, was mixed with A. baumannii A118 cells. Selected transformants were analysed by whole-genome sequencing. In addition, bioinformatics analyses and in silico gene flow prediction were also performed to support the experimental results. Transformant strains included some that became resistant to carbapenems or changed their antimicrobial susceptibility profile. Foreign DNA acquisition was confirmed by whole-genome analysis. The acquired DNA most frequently identified corresponded to mobile genetic elements, antimicrobial resistance genes and operons involved in metabolism. Bioinformatics 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 multidrug-resistant strains.
International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 53(4): 483-490 (2019)