Achromobacter species are increasingly being detected in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, where they can establish chronic infections by adapting to the lower airway environment. To better understand the mechanisms contributing to a successful colonization by Achromobacter species, we sequenced the whole genome of 54 isolates from 26 patients with occasional and early/late chronic lung infection. We performed a phylogenetic analysis and compared virulence and resistance genes, genetic variants and mutations, and hypermutability mechanisms between chronic and occasional isolates. We identified five Achromobacter species as well as two non-affiliated genogroups (NGs). Among them were the frequently isolated Achromobacter xylosoxidans and four other species whose clinical importance is not yet clear: Achromobacter insuavis, Achromobacter dolens, Achromobacter insolitus and Achromobacter aegrifaciens. While A. insuavis and A. dolens were isolated only from chronically infected patients and A. aegrifaciens only from occasionally infected patients, the other species were found in both groups. Most of the occasional isolates lacked functional genes involved in invasiveness, chemotaxis, type 3 secretion system and anaerobic growth, whereas the great majority (>60%) of chronic isolates had these genomic features. Interestingly, almost all (n=22/23) late chronic isolates lacked functional genes involved in lipopolysaccharide production. Regarding antibiotic resistance, we observed a species-specific distribution of blaOXA genes, confirming what has been reported in the literature and additionally identifying blaOXA-2 in some A. insolitus isolates and observing no blaOXA genes in A. aegrifaciens or NGs. No significant difference in resistance genes was found between chronic and occasional isolates. The results of the mutator genes analysis showed that no occasional isolate had hypermutator characteristics, while 60% of early chronic (<1 year from first colonization) and 78% of late chronic (>1 year from first colonization) isolates were classified as hypermutators. Although all A. dolens, A. insuavis and NG isolates presented two different mutS genes, these seem to have a complementary rather than compensatory function. In conclusion, our results show that Achromobacter species can exhibit different adaptive mechanisms and some of these mechanisms might be more useful than others in establishing a chronic infection in CF patients, highlighting their importance for the clinical setting and the need for further studies on the less clinically characterized Achromobacter species.

Genomic characterization of Achromobacter species isolates from chronic and occasional lung infection in cystic fibrosis patients

Veschetti, Laura;Sandri, Angela;Patuzzo, Cristina;Melotti, Paola;Malerba, Giovanni;Lleo, Maria M
2021

Abstract

Achromobacter species are increasingly being detected in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, where they can establish chronic infections by adapting to the lower airway environment. To better understand the mechanisms contributing to a successful colonization by Achromobacter species, we sequenced the whole genome of 54 isolates from 26 patients with occasional and early/late chronic lung infection. We performed a phylogenetic analysis and compared virulence and resistance genes, genetic variants and mutations, and hypermutability mechanisms between chronic and occasional isolates. We identified five Achromobacter species as well as two non-affiliated genogroups (NGs). Among them were the frequently isolated Achromobacter xylosoxidans and four other species whose clinical importance is not yet clear: Achromobacter insuavis, Achromobacter dolens, Achromobacter insolitus and Achromobacter aegrifaciens. While A. insuavis and A. dolens were isolated only from chronically infected patients and A. aegrifaciens only from occasionally infected patients, the other species were found in both groups. Most of the occasional isolates lacked functional genes involved in invasiveness, chemotaxis, type 3 secretion system and anaerobic growth, whereas the great majority (>60%) of chronic isolates had these genomic features. Interestingly, almost all (n=22/23) late chronic isolates lacked functional genes involved in lipopolysaccharide production. Regarding antibiotic resistance, we observed a species-specific distribution of blaOXA genes, confirming what has been reported in the literature and additionally identifying blaOXA-2 in some A. insolitus isolates and observing no blaOXA genes in A. aegrifaciens or NGs. No significant difference in resistance genes was found between chronic and occasional isolates. The results of the mutator genes analysis showed that no occasional isolate had hypermutator characteristics, while 60% of early chronic (<1 year from first colonization) and 78% of late chronic (>1 year from first colonization) isolates were classified as hypermutators. Although all A. dolens, A. insuavis and NG isolates presented two different mutS genes, these seem to have a complementary rather than compensatory function. In conclusion, our results show that Achromobacter species can exhibit different adaptive mechanisms and some of these mechanisms might be more useful than others in establishing a chronic infection in CF patients, highlighting their importance for the clinical setting and the need for further studies on the less clinically characterized Achromobacter species.
Achromobacter
antibiotic resistance
bacterial evolution
comparative genomics
cystic fibrosis
hypermutation
lung infection
virulence factors
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1046650
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