The effect of aminoglycosides on horizontal gene transfer in Klebsiella pneumoniae
Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y Naturales
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria represent a global risk to public health. Horizontal gene transfer, a common mechanism for genetic exchange in bacteria, plays an essential role in the acquisition of resistance genes. In this work, we evaluated the effect of sub-lethal concentrations of antibiotics on plasmid transfer by conjugation and transformation in the opportunistic pathogen Klebsiella pneumoniae. Despite not being naturally competent, this bacterium could acquire extracellular DNA from
... lular DNA from various plasmids at a very low frequency, which increased upon incubating cells with the aminoglycoside antibiotics amikacin and gentamicin. Transfer by conjugation analyzed using a clinical isolate carrying plasmid pNDM-1 also increased in the presence of sub-lethal concentrations of antibiotics. An RNAseq analysis showed differential expression of several genes when cells were incubated in the presence of sub-lethal concentrations of amikacin suggesting metabolic and regulatory changes, as well as alteration of cell envelope components that could affect the uptake of foreign DNA. These results suggest that sub-lethal concentrations of some aminoglycosides, in particular amikacin, can promote the transfer of resistance-bearing genetic elements in K. pneumoniae, which is relevant for understanding the spread of resistance determinants in this human pathogen.