Institut d'Investigació Sanitària Illes Balears (IdISBa) Research Group.

Deciphering β-lactamase-independent β-lactam resistance evolution trajectories in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Cabot G1, Florit-Mendoza L1, Sánchez-Diener I1, Zamorano L1, Oliver A1

1Hospital Universitario Son Espases,Palma de Mallorca,Spain.

Background:While resistance related to the expression of β-lactamases, such as AmpC from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has been deeply studied, this work addresses the gap in the knowledge of other potential bacterial strategies to overcome the activity of β-lactams when β-lactamases are not expressed.

Methods:We analysed β-lactam resistance evolution trajectories in a WT strain and in isogenic mutants either lacking AmpC (AmpC mutant) or unable to express it (AmpG mutant), exposed to increasing concentrations of ceftazidime for 7 days in quintuplicate experiments. Characterization of evolved lineages included susceptibility profiles, whole-genome sequences, resistance mechanisms, fitness (competitive growth assays) and virulence (Caenorhabditis elegans model).

Results:Development of resistance was faster for the WT strain but, after 7 days, all strains reached clinical ceftazidime resistance levels. The main resistance mechanism in the WT strain was ampC overexpression, due to mutations in dacB and ampD or mpl. In contrast, ampC overexpression did not evolve in any of the AmpG lineages. Moreover, sequencing of the ΔAmpC and ΔAmpG evolved lineages revealed alternative resistance mutations (not seen in WT lineages) that included, in all cases, large (50-600 kb) deletions of specific chromosomal regions together with mutations leading to β-lactam target [ftsI (PBP3)] modification and/or the overexpression or structural modification of the efflux pump MexAB-OprM. Finally, evolved lineages from the AmpC and, especially, AmpG mutants showed a reduced fitness and virulence.

Conclusions:In addition to providing new insights into β-lactam resistance mechanisms and evolution, our findings should be helpful for guiding future strategies to combat P. aeruginosa infections.

Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. DOI: 10.1093/jac/dky364

Link to Pubmed

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