Strains 6105T and 6106, recovered from colonized patients in a hospital in Tel-Aviv, Israel, were compared with currently known species of the genus Citrobacter by a polyphasic taxonomic approach. Strains were characterized by whole-genome sequencing, 16S rRNA and recN gene sequencing, multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA), average nucleotide identity (ANI), Genome-to-Genome Distance Calculator (GGDC), and biochemical tests. The location and genetic surrounding of antibiotic resistance genes were investigated, and antibiotic susceptibility profiles were determined by broth microdilution or agar dilution methods. Phylogenetic analysis based on recN and MLSA revealed that both strains formed a distinct cluster from all currently recognized species. The ANI and GGDC were 90.7% and 54.3% with Citrobacter farmeri, respectively. The ability to metabolize various compounds also differentiated both strains from closely related Citrobacter species. Chromosomes of the isolates contained locus encoding a novel class A β-lactamase (TEL-1; 90.5% amino acid identity with CdiA of Citrobacter koseri) plus a LysR-like transcriptional regulator (TEL-R) and an ~ 25.5-kb mcr-9 mosaic region. The direct mcr-9 context matched with those previously identified in several plasmids and chromosomes of diverse Enterobacteriaceae, yet similarity with the plasmidic loci extended further. Untypeable plasmids, pCTEL-2 (~ 235 kb) and pCTEL-1 (~ 114 kb), devoid of resistance genes, were identified in the strains. The isolates were non-susceptible to β-lactams. The name Citrobacter telavivum sp. nov. is proposed, with 6105T (CECT 9989T or DSM 110286T) as the type strain. C. telavivum may represent a bacterial species adapting to hospital settings, able to disseminate and acquire antimicrobial resistance genes.
Keywords: Citrobacter; Phylogeny; Plasmid-mediated colistin resistance; Taxonomy; Whole-genome sequencing; mcr-9.