11th October 2017 - J Clinical Microbiology
Recent advances in nanopore sequencing technology have led to a substantial increase in throughput and sequence quality. Together, these improvements may permit real-time benchtop genomic sequencing and antimicrobial resistance gene detection in clinical isolates. Here, we evaluated workflows and turnaround times for a benchtop long-read sequencing approach in the clinical microbiology laboratory using the Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION sequencer. We performed genomic and plasmid sequencing of three clinical isolates with both MinION and Illumina MiSeq, using different library preparation methods (2D and rapid 1D) with the goal of antimicrobial resistance gene detection. We specifically evaluated the advantages of using plasmid DNA for sequencing and the value of supplementing MinION sequences with MiSeq reads for increasing assembly accuracy. Resequencing of three plasmids in a reference K. pneumoniae isolate demonstrated ∼99% accuracy of draft MinION-only assembly, and >99.9% accuracy of assembly polished with MiSeq reads. Plasmid DNA sequencing of previously uncharacterized clinical ESBL E. coli and K. pneumoniae isolates using MinION allowed successful identification of antimicrobial resistance genes in the draft assembly corresponding to all classes of observed plasmid-based phenotypic resistance. Importantly, use of plasmid DNA enabled lower depth sequencing, and assemblies sufficient for full antimicrobial resistance gene annotation were obtained with as few as 2000-5000 reads that can acquired in 20 minutes of sequencing. With a MinION-only workflow that balances accuracy against turnaround time, full annotation of plasmid resistance gene content could be obtained in under 6 hours from a sub-cultured isolate, in less time than traditional phenotypic susceptibility testing.