Table_3_Is Long-Term Heavy Metal Exposure Driving Carriage of Antibiotic Resistance in Environmental Opportunistic Pathogens: A Comprehensive Phenomic.DOCX (82.71 kB)
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Table_3_Is Long-Term Heavy Metal Exposure Driving Carriage of Antibiotic Resistance in Environmental Opportunistic Pathogens: A Comprehensive Phenomic and Genomic Assessment Using Serratia sp. SRS-8-S-2018.DOCX

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posted on 20.08.2020, 04:27 by Sherif Gendy, Ashvini Chauhan, Meenakshi Agarwal, Ashish Pathak, Rajesh Singh Rathore, Rajneesh Jaswal

The carriage of both, heavy metal and antibiotic resistance appears to be a common trait in bacterial communities native to long-term contaminated habitats, including the Savannah River Site (SRS). There is widespread soil contamination at the SRS; a United States Department of Energy (DOE) facility with long-term contamination from past industrial and nuclear weapons production activities. To further evaluate the genomic and metabolic traits that underpin metal and antibiotic resistance, a robust mercury (Hg) and uranium (U)-resistant strain- SRS-8-S-2018, was isolated. Minimum inhibitory concentration of this strain revealed resistance to Hg (10 μg/ml) and U (5 mM), the two main heavy metal contaminants at the SRS. Metabolic assessment of strain SRS-8-S-2018 using Biolog metabolic fingerprinting analysis revealed preference for carbohydrate utilization followed by polymers, amino acids, carboxy acids, and esters; this physiological activity diminished when Hg stress was provided at 1 and 3 μg/ml and completely ceased at 5 μg/ml Hg, indicating that continued release of Hg will have negative metabolic impacts to even those microorganisms that possess high resistance ability. Development of antibiotic resistance in strain SRS-8-S-2018 was evaluated at a functional level using phenomics, which confirmed broad resistance against 70.8% of the 48 antibiotics tested. Evolutionary and adaptive traits of strain SRS-8-S-2018 were further assessed using genomics, which revealed the strain to taxonomically affiliate with Serratia marcescens species, possessing a genome size of 5,323,630 bp, 5,261 proteins (CDS), 55 genes for transfer RNA (tRNA), and an average G + C content of 59.48. Comparative genomics with closest taxonomic relatives revealed 360 distinct genes in SRS-8-S-2018, with multiple functions related to both, antibiotic and heavy metal resistance, which likely facilitates the strain’s survival in a metalliferous soil habitat. Comparisons drawn between the environmentally isolated Serratia SRS-8-S-2018 with 31 other strains revealed a closer functional association with medically relevant isolates suggesting that propensity of environmental Serratia isolates in acquiring virulence traits, as a function of long-term exposure to heavy metals, which is facilitating development, recruitment and proliferation of not only metal resistant genes (MRGs) but antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs), which can potentially trigger future bacterial pathogen outbreaks emanating from contaminated environmental habitats.