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Sewage effluent from an Indian hospital harbors novel carbapenemases and integron-borne antibiotic resistance genes

Journal article
Authors Nachiket Marathe
Fanny Berglund
Mohammad Razavi
Chandan Pal
Johannes Dröge
S. Samant
Erik Kristiansson
D. G. Joakim Larsson
Published in Microbiome
Volume 7
Issue 1
ISSN 2049-2618
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Mathematical Sciences
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Centre for antibiotic resistance research, CARe
Language en
Keywords Antibiotic resistance, Carbapenemase, Hidden Markov model, Hospital effluent, India, Pathogens
Subject categories Infectious Medicine


Background: Hospital wastewaters contain fecal material from a large number of individuals, of which many are undergoing antibiotic therapy. It is, thus, plausible that hospital wastewaters could provide opportunities to find novel carbapenemases and other resistance genes not yet described in clinical strains. Our aim was therefore to investigate the microbiota and antibiotic resistome of hospital effluent collected from the city of Mumbai, India, with a special focus on identifying novel carbapenemases. Results: Shotgun metagenomics revealed a total of 112 different mobile antibiotic resistance gene types, conferring resistance against almost all classes of antibiotics. Beta-lactamase genes, including encoding clinically important carbapenemases, such as NDM, VIM, IMP, KPC, and OXA-48, were abundant. NDM (0.9% relative abundance to 16S rRNA genes) was the most common carbapenemase gene, followed by OXA-58 (0.84% relative abundance to 16S rRNA genes). Among the investigated mobile genetic elements, class 1 integrons (11% relative abundance to 16S rRNA genes) were the most abundant. The genus Acinetobacter accounted for as many as 30% of the total 16S rRNA reads, with A. baumannii accounting for an estimated 2.5%. High throughput sequencing of amplified integron gene cassettes identified a novel functional variant of an IMP-type (proposed IMP-81) carbapenemase gene (eight aa substitutions) along with recently described novel resistance genes like sul4 and bla RSA1. Using a computational hidden Markov model, we detected 27 unique metallo-beta-lactamase (MBL) genes in the shotgun data, of which nine were novel subclass B1 genes, one novel subclass B2, and 10 novel subclass B3 genes. Six of the seven novel MBL genes were functional when expressed in Escherichia coli. Conclusion: By exploring hospital wastewater from India, our understanding of the diversity of carbapenemases has been extended. The study also demonstrates that the microbiota of hospital wastewater can serve as a reservoir of novel resistance genes, including previously uncharacterized carbapenemases with the potential to spread further. © 2019 The Author(s).

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