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Murine gut resistome to antibiotic treatment - Easy Microbial Genomics

Home > Paper Highlights >  Murine gut resistome to antibiotic treatment

Evolution of the murine gut resistome following broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment

Posted May 5, 2022

Before the advent of antibiotics, bacterial infections were the leading cause of human disease and death. The use of antibiotics is now common in treating infections and ensuring the safety of surgical procedures and organ transplants. In addition, they are widely used in animal husbandry as well as in animal models for studying the gut microbiome.

The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) represents a growing healthcare challenge worldwide. However, the mechanisms and timescales that form this resistance group remain elusive.

A research group, led by Dr Paul Wilmes from University of Luxembourg, used a cocktail of antibiotics administered to a mouse model and a longitudinal sampling strategy to determine the mechanisms by which gut commensals acquire antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) after a single course of antibiotics. While most resident bacterial populations are depleted by treatment, Akkermansia and members of the Enterobacteriaceae, Enterococci and Lactobacilli families acquired resistance and remained recalcitrant.

They identified specific genes conferring antibiotic resistance in corresponding metagenomic assembled genomes (MAGs) and traced their origin in each genome. As a result, they showed that while mobile genetic elements (MGEs), including phages and plasmids, contributed to the spread of ARGs, integrons represent a key factor mediating AMR in antibiotic-treated mice.

Their findings suggest that a single course of antibiotics can act as a selective sweep to drive ARG acquisition and incidence in gut symbionts over the lifespan of a single mammal.

In mice given antibiotics, AMR was mediated through integrons.

image source: Nature Communications


de Nies, L., Busi, S.B., Tsenkova, M. et al. Evolution of the murine gut resistome following broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment. Nat Commun 13, 2296 (2022).