A new subclass of intrinsic aminoglycoside nucleotidyltransferases, ANT(3")-II, is horizontally transferred among <i>Acinetobacter</i> spp. by homologous recombination

by Gang Zhang, Sébastien Olivier Leclercq, Jingjing Tian, Chao Wang, Koji Yahara, Guomin Ai, Shuangjiang Liu, Jie Feng

The emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance among Acinetobacter spp. have been investigated extensively. Most studies focused on the multiple antibiotic resistance genes located on plasmids or genomic resistance islands. On the other hand, the mechanisms controlling intrinsic resistance are still not well understood. In this study, we identified the novel subclass of aminoglycoside nucleotidyltransferase ANT(3″)-II in Acinetobacter spp., which comprised numerous variants distributed among three main clades. All members of this subclass can inactivate streptomycin and spectinomycin. The three ant(3″)-II genes, encoding for the three ANT(3″)-II clades, are widely distributed in the genus Acinetobacter and always located in the same conserved genomic region. According to their prevalence, these genes are intrinsic in Acinetobacter baumannii, Acinetobacter pittii, and Acinetobacter gyllenbergii. We also demonstrated that the ant(3″)-II genes are located in a homologous recombination hotspot and were recurrently transferred among Acinetobacter species. In conclusion, our findings demonstrated a novel mechanism of natural resistance in Acinetobacter spp., identified a novel subclass of aminoglycoside nucleotidyltransferase and provided new insight into the evolutionary history of intrinsic resistance genes.
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