AbGRI4, a novel antibiotic resistance island in multiply antibiotic-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii clinical isolates



To investigate the genomic context of a novel resistance island (RI) in multiply antibiotic-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii clinical isolates and global isolates.


Using a combination of long and short reads generated from the Oxford Nanopore and Illumina platforms, contiguous chromosomes and plasmid sequences were determined. BLAST-based analysis was used to identify the RI insertion target.


Genomes of four multiply antibiotic-resistant A. baumannii clinical strains, from a US hospital system, belonging to prevalent MLST ST2 (Pasteur scheme) and ST281 (Oxford scheme) clade F isolates were sequenced to completion. A class 1 integron carrying aadB (tobramycin resistance) and aadA2 (streptomycin/spectinomycin resistance) was identified. The class 1 integron was 6.8 kb, bounded by IS26 at both ends, and embedded in a new target location between an α/β-hydrolase and a reductase. Due to its novel insertion site and unique RI composition, we suggest naming this novel RI AbGRI4. Molecular analysis of global A. baumannii isolates identified multiple AbGRI4 RI variants in non-ST2 clonal lineages, including variations in the resistance gene cassettes, integron backbone and insertion breakpoints at the hydrolase gene.


A novel RI insertion target harbouring a class 1 integron was identified in a subgroup of ST2/ST281 clinical isolates. Variants of the RI suggested evolution and horizontal transfer of the RI across clonal lineages. Long- and short-read hybrid assembly technology completely resolved the genomic context of IS-bounded RIs, which was not possible using short reads alone.

Authors: Agnes P Chan, Yongwook Choi, Thomas H Clarke, Lauren M Brinkac, Richard C White, Michael R Jacobs, Robert A Bonomo, Mark D Adams, Derrick E Fouts