Megaplasmids on the rise: combining sequencing approaches to fully resolve a carbapenemase-encoding plasmid in a proposed novel Pseudomonas species
7th April 2019 - BioRxiv
Horizontal transfer of plasmids plays a pivotal role in the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes and emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria. Sequencing of plasmids is thus paramount for the success of accurate epidemiological tracking strategies in the hospital setting and routine surveillance. Here, we combine Nanopore and Illumina sequencing to fully assemble a carbapenemase-encoding megaplasmid carried by a clinical isolate belonging to a putative novel Pseudomonas species. FFUP_PS_41 has a multidrug resistance phenotype and was initially identified as Pseudomonas putida, but an average nucleotide identity below the cut-off for species delineation suggests a new species related to the P. putida phylogenetic group. FFUP_PS_41 harbors a 498,516-bp untypable megaplasmid (pJBCL41) with low similarity compared with publicly available plasmids. pJBCL41 contains a full set of genes for self-transmission and genes predicted to be responsible for plasmid replication, partitioning, maintenance and heavy metal resistance. pJBCL41 carries a class 1 integron with the |aacA7|blaVIM-2|aacA4| cassette array (In103) located within a defective Tn402-like transposon that forms part of a 50,273-bp mosaic region bound by 38-bp inverted repeats typical of the Tn3 family and flanked by 5-bp direct repeats. This region is composed of different elements, including additional transposon fragments, five insertion sequences and a Tn3-Derived Inverted-Repeat Miniature Element. The hybrid Nanopore/Illumina approach resulted in contiguous assemblies and allowed us to fully resolve a carbapenemase-encoding megaplasmid from Pseudomonas spp. The identification of novel megaplasmids will shed a new light on the evolutionary effects of gene transfer and the selective forces driving AR.