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Sandia Labs Researchers Sequence Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Strain’s Genome

Sandia Labs Researchers Sequence Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Strain's Genome - top government contractors - best government contracting event

Sandia National LaboratoriesA team of scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories has sequenced the genome of an antibiotic-resistant pathogen strain to understand how its resistance operates and spreads to other bacteria.

Patti Koning writes in a piece published Aug. 22 that Sandia’s Zach Bent, Corey Hudson, Robert Meagher and Kelly Williams studied the composition of the Klebsiella pneumoniae strain and encoded the New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase or NDM-1 enzyme, which breaks down the carbapenem antibiotic.

“This particular strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae is fascinating and terrifying because it’s resistant to practically everything,” Meagher said.

Koning reports that the researchers used genomic data sets from Illumina and Pacific Biosciences to sequence Klebsiella pneumoniae and found that it contained 34 antibiotic-resistant enzymes and efflux pumps that also discharge antibiotics from the cell.

“Once we had the entire genome sequenced, it was a real eye-opener to see the concentration of so many antibiotic-resistant genes and so many different mechanisms for accumulating them,” said Williams.

Other resistance mechanisms include the acquisition of plasmids and genomic islands, integron cassette swapping, transposition events from chromosome to plasmid and vice versa and homologous recombination at high copy repeats.

They also developed bioinformatics tools to determine genetic movement via transposons or homologous recombination that could spread the antibiotic resistance to other bacteria.

According to Koning, the team is using these tools and information to establish the pattern of movement, create diagnostic tools that would indicate bioengineering in the form of unnatural genomic islands as well as support ongoing research on the treatment of drug-resistant organisms.

The team has indicated its findings in a report titled “Resistance Determinants and Mobile Genetic Elements of an NDM-1 Encoding Klebsiella pneumoniae Strain” published in PLOS ONE.

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