The IncF antibiotic resistance and virulence plasmid pRSB225, isolated from an unknown bacterium released with the purified wastewater from a municipal sewage treatment plant into the environment has been analysed at the genomic level by pyrosequencing. The 164,550bp plasmid comprises 210 coding sequences (cds). It is composed of three replicons (RepFIA, RepFIB, and RepFII) and encodes further plasmid-specific functions for stable maintenance and inheritance and conjugative plasmid transfer. The plasmid is self-transmissible and shows a narrow host range limited to the family Enterobacteriaceae. The accessory modules of the plasmid mainly comprise genes conferring resistance to ampicillin (bla(TEM-1b)), chloramphenicol (catA1), erythromycin (mphA), kanamycin and neomycin (aphA1), streptomycin (strAB), sulphonamides (sul2), tetracycline (tetA(B)) and trimethoprim (dfrA14), as well as mercuric ions (mer genes). In addition, putative virulence-associated genes coding for iron uptake (iutA/iucABCD, sitABCD, and a putative high-affinity Fe²⁺ uptake system) and for a toxin/antitoxin system (vagCD) were identified on the plasmid. All antibiotic and heavy metal resistance genes are located either on class 1 (Tn10-remnant, Tn4352B) and class 2 transposons (Tn2-remnant, Tn21, Tn402-remnant) or a class 1 integron, whereas almost all putative virulence genes are associated with IS elements (IS1, IS26), indicating that transposition and/or recombination events were responsible for acquisition of the accessory pRSB225 modules. Particular modules of plasmid pRSB225 are related to corresponding segments of different virulence plasmids harboured by pathogenic Escherichia coli strains. Moreover, pRSB225 modules were also detected in entero-aggregative-haemorrhagic E. coli (EAHEC) draft genome sequences suggesting that IncF plasmids related to pRSB225 mediated gene transfer into pathogenic E. coli derivatives.
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