Antibiotic Resistance Genes In Pathogenic vs Commensal Neisseria

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Abstract Summary

Antibiotic resistance has become one of the most concerning threats to mankind. Our nation faces 23,000 deaths annually due to antibiotic resistance. Neisseria gonorrhoea (Ngo), a Gram-negative bacterium that causes gonorrhea, has evolved high levels of resistance to a wide range of antibiotics and is considered a “superbug”. To limit untreatable gonorrhea spread, we asked whether commensal Neisseria can be considered a reservoir of antimicrobial resistance (AR) genes for pathogenic Ngo. Here, we focus on identifying potential AR genes present in commensal Neisseria that could be transferred to the pathogenic Ngo. Using bioinformatics, we compare known AR genes from open databases to the genomes of Ngo and other commensal Neisseria species. We predict that the pathogenic Ngo will have AR genes also present in Neisseria commensals. This genomic analysis combined with phenotypic analyses of antimicrobial resistance profiles of commensal Neisseria can provide insight on whether commensal Neisseria can be considered a reservoir of AR for Ngo, and potentially identify new AR genes in the Neisseria genus. This research can also help predict new resistance traits of Ngo.


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