Characterization of IncC Plasmids in Enterobacterales of food-producing animals originating from China

Incompatibility group C (IncC) plasmids have received attention due to their broad host range and because they harbor key antibiotic resistance genes. Because these resistance genes can spread from food-producing animals to human, the proliferation of these plasmids represents a public health risk.

In this study, a total of 20 IncC plasmids were collected from food-producing animals in China, and characterized by Oxford Nanopore Technologies long-read sequencing. Based on four key differences of the IncC backbone, 4 IncC plasmids were classified as type 1, 15 were classified as type 1/2 hybrid, and one was classified as type 2. The 15 type 1/2 hybrids were further divided into 13 type 1/2a and 2 type 1/2b, based on sequence differences arising from different homologous recombination events between type 1 and type 2 IncC backbones.

Genome comparison of accessory resistance modules showed that different IncC plasmids exhibited various phenotypes via loss and gain of diverse modules, mainly within the blaCMY-carrying region, and two antibiotic resistance islands designated ARI-A and ARI-B. Interestingly, in addition to insertion and deletion events, IS26 or IS1294-mediated large sequence inversions were found in the IncC genome of the 4 type1/2a plasmids, suggesting that insertion sequence-mediated rearrangements also promote the diversity of the IncC genome.

This study provides insight into the structural diversification and multidrug resistance of IncC plasmids identified from food-producing animals in China.

Authors: Yu Zhang, Chang-Wei Lei, Xuan Chen, Tian-Ge Yao, Jing-Wen Yu, Wan-Long Hu, Xuan Mao and Hong-Ning Wang