Genomic Insights of Enterococcus faecium UC7251, a Multi-Drug Resistant Strain From Ready-to-Eat Food, Highlight the Risk of Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain

Mireya Viviana Belloso Daza, Giovanni Milani, Claudia Cortimiglia, Ester Pietta, Daniela Bassi*, Pier Sandro Cocconcelli

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The presence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria in ready-to-eat foods comprises a threat for public health due to their ability to acquire and transfer antibiotic-resistant determinants that could settle in the microbiome of the human digestive tract. In this study, Enterococcus faecium UC7251 isolated from a fermented dry sausage was characterized phenotypically and genotypically to hold resistance to multiple antibiotics including aminoglycosides, macrolides, beta-lactams, and tetracyclines. We further investigated this strain following a hybrid sequencing and assembly approach (short and long reads) and determined the presence of various mobile genetic elements (MGEs) responsible of horizontal gene transfer (HGT). On the chromosome of UC7251, we found one integrative and conjugative element (ICE) and a conjugative transposon Tn916-carrying tetracycline resistance. UC7251 carries two plasmids: one small plasmid harboring a rolling circle replication and one MDR megaplasmid. The latter was identified as mobilizable and containing a putative integrative and conjugative element-like region, prophage sequences, insertion sequences, heavy-metal resistance genes, and several antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes, confirming the phenotypic resistance characteristics. The transmissibility potential of AMR markers was observed through mating experiments, where Tn916-carried tetracycline resistance was transferred at intra- and inter-species levels. This work highlights the significance of constant monitoring of products of animal origin, especially RTE foodstuffs, to stimulate the development of novel strategies in the race for constraining the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Enterococcus faecium
  • gene transfer
  • genomic analysis
  • multi-drug resistant
  • ready-to-eat foods

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