Diversity of β-lactamase-encoding genes in wastewater: bacteriophages as reporters
BARRIOS, MELINA ELIZABETH; BLANCO FERNÁNDEZ, MARÍA DOLORES; CAMMARATA, ROBERTINA VIVIANA; TORRES, CAROLINA; POWER, PABLO; MBAYED, VIVIANA ANDREA
ARCHIVES OF VIROLOGY
Año: 2021 vol. 166 p. 1337 - 1344
A reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) is present in pathogenic, commensal, and environmental bacteria as well as in mobile genetic elements, including bacteriophages. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are considered hotspots for the spread of ARGs. The aim of this work was to analyze the diversity of the highly prevalent ARGs blaCTX-M and blaTEM in bacterial and bacteriophage fractions associated with human and animal environments through the study of urban waste and animal residues discharged into WWTPs to provide information about the composition and maintenance of the current resistome in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The results showed that a putative extended-spectrum variant of the blaTEM gene was the most frequently detected, with blaTEM-116 being the most prevalent, while a recently described type, blaTEM-229, was also found. In the bacteriophage fraction, we detected blaCTX-M genes from four out of the five clusters described. The detection of blaCTX- M-9-like and blaCTX-M-25-like genes was unexpected based on surveys of the ARGs from clinical pathogens circulating regionally. The finding of divergent blaCTX-M sequences associated with previously reported environmental genes argues in favor of the natural environment as a reservoir of resistance genes. ARGs were detected in bacteriophages as frequently as in bacterial communities, and furthermore, the blaCTX-M genes were more diverse in the bacteriophage fraction. Bacteriophages might therefore play a role in the spread of ARGs in the environment, but they might also be used as ?reporters? for monitoring circulating ARGs.