Bacterial viruses enable their host to acquire antibiotic resistance genes from neighbouring cells

Haaber, J., Leisner, J. J., Cohn, M. T., Catalan-Moreno, A., Nielsen, J. B., Westh, H., Penadés, J. R. and Ingmer, H. (2016) Bacterial viruses enable their host to acquire antibiotic resistance genes from neighbouring cells. Nature Communications, 7, 13333. (doi:10.1038/ncomms13333) (PMID:27819286) (PMCID:PMC5103068)

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Abstract

Prophages are quiescent viruses located in the chromosomes of bacteria. In the human pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, prophages are omnipresent and are believed to be responsible for the spread of some antibiotic resistance genes. Here we demonstrate that release of phages from a subpopulation of S. aureus cells enables the intact, prophage-containing population to acquire beneficial genes from competing, phage-susceptible strains present in the same environment. Phage infection kills competitor cells and bits of their DNA are occasionally captured in viral transducing particles. Return of such particles to the prophagecontaining population can drive the transfer of genes encoding potentially useful traits such as antibiotic resistance. This process, which can be viewed as ‘auto-transduction’, allows S. aureus to efficiently acquire antibiotic resistance both in vitro and in an in vivo virulence model (wax moth larvae) and enables it to proliferate under strong antibiotic selection pressure. Our results may help to explain the rapid exchange of antibiotic resistance genes observed in S. aureus.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The work was funded by a Sapere Aude post doctoral grant (#12-126289) for J.H. and a Danish council for independent research grant 12-127417, as well as Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence Bacterial Stress Response and Persistence (grant identifier DNRF120) for H.I.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Penades, Professor Jose R
Authors: Haaber, J., Leisner, J. J., Cohn, M. T., Catalan-Moreno, A., Nielsen, J. B., Westh, H., Penadés, J. R., and Ingmer, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
ISSN (Online):2041-1723
Published Online:07 November 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 7: 13333
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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