Eliminating mcr-1-harbouring plasmids in clinical isolates using the CRISPR/Cas9 system.

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Eliminating mcr-1-harbouring plasmids in clinical isolates using the CRISPR/Cas9 system.

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2019 Jun 15;:

Authors: Wang P, He D, Li B, Guo Y, Wang W, Luo X, Zhao X, Wang X

OBJECTIVES: To eliminate mcr-1-harbouring plasmids and MDR plasmids in clinical Escherichia coli isolates.
METHODS: Plasmid pMBLcas9 expressing Cas9 was constructed and used to clone target single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) for plasmid curing. The recombinant plasmid pMBLcas9-sgRNA was transferred by conjugation into two clinical E. coli isolates. The curing efficiency of different sgRNAs targeting conserved genes was tested. The elimination of targeted plasmids and the generation of transposase-mediated recombination of p14EC033a variants were characterized by PCR and DNA sequencing.
RESULTS: In this study, four native plasmids in isolate 14EC033 and two native plasmids in isolate 14EC007 were successfully eliminated in a step-by-step manner using pMBLcas9. Moreover, two native plasmids in 14EC007 were simultaneously eliminated by tandemly cloning multiple sgRNAs in pMBLcas9, sensitizing 14EC007 to polymyxin and carbenicillin. In 14EC033 with two mcr-1-harbouring plasmids, IncI2 plasmid p14EC033a and IncX4 plasmid p14EC033b, a single mcr-1 sgRNA mediated the loss of p14EC033b and generated a mutant p14EC033a in which the mcr-1 gene was deleted. An insertion element, IS5, located upstream of mcr-1 in p14EC033a was responsible for transposase-mediated recombination, resulting in mcr-1 gene deletion instead of plasmid curing.
CONCLUSIONS: CRISPR/Cas9 can be used to efficiently sensitize clinical isolates to antibiotics in vitro. For isolates with multiple plasmids, the CRISPR/Cas9 approach can either remove each plasmid in a stepwise manner or simultaneously remove multiple plasmids in one step. Moreover, this approach can be used to delete multiple gene copies by using only one sgRNA. However, caution must be exercised to avoid unwanted recombination events during genetic manipulation.

PMID: 31203365 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]