Longitudinal changes in the nasopharyngeal resistome of South African infants using shotgun metagenomic sequencing

Rendani I Manenzhe, Felix S Dube, Meredith Wright, Katie Lennard, Heather J Zar, Stephanie Mounaud, William C Nierman, Mark P Nicol, Clinton Moodley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)


INTRODUCTION: Nasopharyngeal (NP) colonization with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria is a global public health concern. Antimicrobial-resistance (AMR) genes carried by the resident NP microbiota may serve as a reservoir for transfer of resistance elements to opportunistic pathogens. Little is known about the NP antibiotic resistome. This study longitudinally investigated the composition of the NP antibiotic resistome in Streptococcus-enriched samples in a South African birth cohort.

METHODS: As a proof of concept study, 196 longitudinal NP samples were retrieved from a subset of 23 infants enrolled as part of broader birth cohort study. These were selected on the basis of changes in serotype and antibiogram over time. NP samples underwent short-term enrichment for streptococci prior to total nucleic acid extraction and whole metagenome shotgun sequencing (WMGS). Reads were assembled and aligned to pneumococcal reference genomes for the extraction of streptococcal and non-streptococcal bacterial reads. Contigs were aligned to the Antibiotic Resistance Gene-ANNOTation database of acquired AMR genes.

RESULTS: AMR genes were detected in 64% (125/196) of the samples. A total of 329 AMR genes were detected, including 36 non-redundant genes, ranging from 1 to 14 genes per sample. The predominant AMR genes detected encoded resistance mechanisms to beta-lactam (52%, 172/329), macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin (17%, 56/329), and tetracycline antibiotics (12%, 38/329). MsrD, ermB, and mefA genes were only detected from streptococcal reads. The predominant genes detected from non- streptococcal reads included blaOXA-60, blaOXA-22, and blaBRO-1. Different patterns of carriage of AMR genes were observed, with only one infant having a stable carriage of mefA, msrD and tetM over a long period.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that WMGS can provide a broad snapshot of the NP resistome and has the potential to provide a comprehensive assessment of resistance elements present in this niche.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0231887
Pages (from-to)e0231887
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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