Escherichia coli is often associated with urinary tract infection (UTI). Antibiotic resistance in E. coli is an ongoing challenge in managing UTI. Extrachromosomal elements – plasmids – are vectors for clinically relevant traits, such as antibiotic resistance, with conjugation being one of the main methods for horizontal propagation of plasmids in bacterial populations. Targeting of conjugation components has been proposed as a strategy to curb the spread of plasmid-borne antibiotic resistance. Understanding the types of conjugative systems present in urinary E. coli isolates is fundamental to assessing the viability of this strategy. In this study, we profile two well-studied conjugation systems (F-type and P-type) in the draft genomes of 65 urinary isolates of E. coli obtained from the bladder urine of adult women with and without UTI-like symptoms. Most of these isolates contained plasmids and we found that conjugation genes were abundant/ubiquitous, diverse and often associated with IncF plasmids. To validate conjugation of these urinary plasmids, the plasmids from two urinary isolates, UMB1223 (predicted to have F-type genes) and UMB1284 (predicted to have P-type genes), were transferred by conjugation into the K-12 E. coli strain MG1655. Overall, the findings of this study support the notion that care should be taken in targeting any individual component of a urinary E. coli isolate’s conjugation system, given the inherent mechanistic redundancy, gene diversity and different types of conjugation systems in this population.
Hernandez, Cesar Montelongo; Putonti, Catherine; and Wolfe, Alan J.. Profiling the plasmid conjugation potential of urinary Escherichia coli. Microbial Genomics, 8, 5: 1-9, 2022. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Biology: Faculty Publications and Other Works, http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mgen.0.000814
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