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Novel Transposon Tn6433 Variants Accelerate the Dissemination of tet(E) in Aeromonas in an Aerobic Biofilm Reactor under Oxytetracycline Stresses

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-05-21, 17:34 authored by Yanhong Shi, Zhe Tian, Michael R. Gillings, Yu Zhang, Hong Zhang, Jiaoqi Huyan, Min Yang
Little is known about the mechanisms that disseminate antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in wastewater microbial communities under antibiotic stress. The role of horizontal transfer mechanisms in dissemination of ARGs in an aerobic biofilm reactor under incremental oxytetracycline doses from 0 to 50 mg/L was studied. Aeromonas strains were the most common culturable bacteria in the reactor, with tet(E) as the most prevalent ARGs (73.3%) being possibly responsible for the oxytetracycline resistance phenotype. Genomic sequencing demonstrated that tet(E) was mainly carried by a Tn3 family transposon named Tn6433, whose incidence increased from 14.6% to 75.0% across the treatments. Tn6433 carrying tet(E) was initially detected in Aeromonas chromosomes at an oxytetracycline dose of 1 mg/L but subsequently detected on plasmids pAeca1-a variants (pAeca1-a, pAeca1-b, and pAeme6) and pAeca2 under higher oxytetracycline stress. The core region of the Tn6433-tet(E) structure was highly conserved, consisting of a transposition and resolution module, a class 1 integron, core passenger genes, and a Tn1722/Tn501-like transposon. Such a structure was found on both the chromosome and plasmids, suggesting that Tn6433 mediated the transposition of tet(E) from the chromosome to plasmid pAeca2 under increasing stresses. Bacteria carrying the transferable plasmid pAeca1-a were dominant in high antibiotic treatments, suggesting that Tn6433 disseminated tet(E), conferring selective advantages to recipients of this ARG.