Diversity of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and bacteriophage-mediated spread of the Oxa23 carbapenemase

Alaa Abouelfetouh, Jennifer Mattock, Dann Turner, Erica Li, Ben Evans

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Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii are prevalent in low- and middle-income countries such as Egypt, but little is known about the molecular epidemiology and mechanisms of resistance in these settings. Here, we characterize carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii from Alexandria, Egypt, and place it in a regional context. Fifty-four carbapenem-resistant isolates from Alexandria Main University Hospital (AMUH), Alexandria, Egypt, collected between 2010 and 2015 were genome sequenced using Illumina technology. Genomes were de novo assembled and annotated. Genomes for 36 isolates from the Middle East region were downloaded from GenBank. The core-gene compliment was determined using Roary, and analyses of recombination were performed in Gubbins. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) sequence type (ST) and antibiotic-resistance genes were identified. The majority of Egyptian isolates belonged to one of three major clades, corresponding to Pasteur MLST clonal complex (CCPAS) 1, CCPAS2 and STPAS158. Strains belonging to STPAS158 have been reported almost exclusively from North Africa, the Middle East and Pakistan, and may represent a region-specific lineage. All isolates carried an oxa23 gene, six carried bla NDM-1 and one carried bla NDM-2. The oxa23 gene was located on a variety of different mobile elements, with Tn2006 predominant in CCPAS2 strains, and Tn2008 predominant in other lineages. Of particular concern, in 8 of the 13 CCPAS1 strains, the oxa23 gene was located in a temperate bacteriophage phiOXA, previously identified only once before in a CCPAS1 clone from the USA military. The carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii population in AMUH is very diverse, and indicates an endemic circulating population, including a region-specific lineage. A major mechanism for oxa23 dissemination in CCPAS1 isolates appears to be a bacteriophage, presenting new concerns about the ability of these carbapenemases to spread throughout the bacterial population.
Original languageEnglish
Article number000752
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

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