Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

AWMC Seminar Program: Antiepileptic drug carbamazepine promotes horizontal transfer of plasmid-borne multi-antibiotic resistance genes within and across bacterial genera

Presenter: Yue Wang

Abstract: Antibiotic resistance is a severe global threat for public health, causing around 700,000 deaths per year. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is one of the most significant pathways to disseminate antibiotic resistance. It is commonly acknowledged that sub-minimum inhibition concentrations of antibiotics are major contributors in promoting antibiotic resistance through HGT. Pharmaceuticals are occurring in our environments at increased levels, yet little is known whether non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals cause or accelerate the dissemination of antibiotic resistance. Here, we report for the first time that the antiepileptic drug, carbamazepine, promotes conjugative transfer of antibiotic resistance genes. It was seen that environmentally relevant concentrations of carbamazepine significantly enhanced the conjugative transfer of multiresistance genes carried by plasmid within and across bacterial genera. The underlying mechanisms of the enhanced HGT were revealed by detecting oxidative stress and cell membrane permeability, in combination with MinION DNA sequencing, genome-wide RNA sequencing and proteomic analysis. Carbamazepine induced a series of acute responses, including increased levels of reactive oxygen species, the SOS response; increased cell membrane permeability, and pilus generation. Expressional levels of genes related to these processes were significantly up-regulated during carbamazepine exposure. Given that HGT occurs widely among different species in various environments, these findings are an early warning for a wide assessment of the roles of non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals in the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Event Details
Date & Time: 
Friday, 02 August 2019
Venue: 76-228 Molecular science Building

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