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Thread: The Gut as Reservoir of Antibiotic Resistance

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default The Gut as Reservoir of Antibiotic Resistance

    The Gut as Reservoir of Antibiotic Resistance: Microbial Diversity of Tetracycline Resistance in Mother and Infant

    Lisbeth E. de Vries,1,2 Yvonne Vallès,3 Yvonne Agersø,2 Parag A. Vaishampayan,4¤a Andrea García-Montaner,3 Jennifer V. Kuehl,4¤b Henrik Christensen,1 Miriam Barlow,5 and M. Pilar Francino3,4,5*
    1Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Denmark
    2National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
    3Unitat Mixta d'Investigació en Genòmica i Salut, Centre Superior d'Investigació en Salut Pública/Universitat de València-Institut Cavanilles, València, Spain
    4Evolutionary Genomics Program, Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, California, United States of America
    5School of Natural Sciences, University of California Merced, Merced, California, United States of America
    Jack Anthony Gilbert, Editor
    Argonne National Laboratory, United States of America
    * E-mail:
    Conceived and designed the experiments: LEdV YA PAV HC MB MPF. Performed the experiments: LEdV YV PAV AG-M JVK. Analyzed the data: LEdV YV AG-M MPF. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: YA JVK HC MB MPF. Wrote the paper: LEdV MPF.
    ¤aCurrent address: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group, Pasadena, California, United States of America
    ¤bCurrent address: Physical Biosciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, United States of America
    Received September 10, 2010; Accepted June 7, 2011.

    The microbiota in the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is highly exposed to antibiotics, and may be an important reservoir of resistant strains and transferable resistance genes. Maternal GIT strains can be transmitted to the offspring, and resistances could be acquired from birth. This is a case study using a metagenomic approach to determine the diversity of microorganisms conferring tetracycline resistance (Tcr) in the guts of a healthy mother-infant pair one month after childbirth, and to investigate the potential for horizontal transfer and maternal transmission of Tcr genes. Fecal fosmid libraries were functionally screened for Tcr, and further PCR-screened for specific Tcr genes. Tcr fosmid inserts were sequenced at both ends to establish bacterial diversity. Mother and infant libraries contained Tcr, although encoded by different genes and organisms. Tcr organisms in the mother consisted mainly of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, and the main gene detected was tet(O), although tet(W) and tet(X) were also found. Identical Tcr gene sequences were present in different bacterial families and even phyla, which may indicate horizontal transfer within the maternal GIT. In the infant library, Tcr was present exclusively in streptococci carrying tet(M), tet(L) and erm(T) within a novel composite transposon, Tn6079. This transposon belongs to a family of broad host range conjugative elements, implying a potential for the joint spread of tetracycline and erythromycin resistance within the infant's gut. In addition, although not found in the infant metagenomic library, tet(O) and tet(W) could be detected in the uncloned DNA purified from the infant fecal sample. This is the first study to reveal the diversity of Tcr bacteria in the human gut, to detect a likely transmission of antibiotic resistance from mother to infant GITs and to indicate the possible occurrence of gene transfers among distantly related bacteria coinhabiting the GIT of the same individual.

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    Veteran Member Reesacat's Avatar
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    24th September 2007
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    Default Re: The Gut as Reservoir of Antibiotic Resistance

    With the high load of antibiotics in conventional meat and milk production leading to more antibiotic-resistant strains this is very scary.

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