The role of interspecies recombination in the evolution of antibiotic-resistant pneumococci

Joshua C. D'Aeth, Mark Pg van der Linden, Lesley McGee, Herminia de Lencastre, Paul Turner, Jae-Hoon Song, Stephanie W. Lo, Rebecca A. Gladstone, Consortium GPS, Sadia Shakoor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Multidrug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae emerge through the modification of core genome loci by interspecies homologous recombinations, and acquisition of gene cassettes. Both occurred in the otherwise contrasting histories of the antibiotic-resistant S. pneumoniae lineages PMEN3 and PMEN9. A single PMEN3 clade spread globally, evading vaccine-induced immunity through frequent serotype switching, whereas locally circulating PMEN9 clades independently gained resistance. Both lineages repeatedly integrated Tn916-type and Tn1207.1-type elements, conferring tetracycline and macrolide resistance, respectively, through homologous recombination importing sequences originating in other species. A species-wide dataset found over 100 instances of such interspecific acquisitions of resistance cassettes and flanking homologous arms. Phylodynamic analysis of the most commonly sampled Tn1207.1-type insertion in PMEN9, originating from a commensal and disrupting a competence gene, suggested its expansion across Germany was driven by a high ratio of macrolide-to-β-lactam consumption. Hence, selection from antibiotic consumption was sufficient for these atypically large recombinations to overcome species boundaries across the pneumococcal chromosome.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalDepartment of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2021

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