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ICEAplChn1, a novel SXT/R391 integrative conjugative element (ICE), carrying multiple antibiotic resistance genes in Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae

Xu, Jinpeng, Jia, Haiyan, Cui, Guanghui, Tong, Huixian, Wei, Jianchao, Shao, Donghua, Liu, Ke, Qiu, Yafeng, Li, Beibei, Ma, Zhiyong
Veterinary microbiology 2018 v.220 pp. 18-23
Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, DNA, Proteus, antibiotic resistance genes, aquatic bacteria, multigene family, multiple drug resistance, phylogeny, polymerase chain reaction
SXT/R391 integrative conjugative elements (ICEs) are capable of self-transfer by conjugation and highly prevalent in various aquatic bacteria and Proteus species. In the present study, a novel SXT/R391 ICE, named ICEAplChn1, was identified in the multidrug resistant (MDR) Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae strain app6. ICEAplChn1 was composed of the typical SXT/R391 backbone and insertion DNA at eight hotspots, including HS1, HS2, HS3, HS4, HS5, VRII, VRIII and a new variation region VRVI. Many of the insertion contents were not present in other reported SXT/R391 family members, including ICEApl2, a recently identified SXT/R391 ICE from a clinical isolate of A. pleuropneumoniae. Remarkably, the VRIII region had accumulated seven resistance genes tet(A), erm(42), floR, aphA6, strB (two copies), strA and sul2. Of them, erm(42) and aphA6 emerged for the first time not only in the SXT/R391 elements but also in A. pleuropneumoniae. Phylogenetic analysis showed considerable variation of the backbone sequence of ICEAplChn1, as compared to those of other SXT/R391 ICEs. A circular intermediate form of ICEAplChn1 was detected by nested PCR. However, the conjugation experiments using different bacteria as recipients failed. These findings demonstrated that SXT/R391 ICEs are able to adapt to a broader range of host bacterial species. The presence of the MDR gene cluster in ICEAplChn1 underlines that SXT/R391 ICE could serve as an important vector for the accumulation of antibiotic resistance genes.