Michel A. Marin | Erica L. Fonseca | Bruno N. Andrade | Adriana C. Cabral | Ana Carolina P. Vicente | Axel Cloeckaert
Date of Publication:
In the last decades, there has been an increase of cholera epidemics caused by multidrug resistant strains. Particularly, the integrative and conjugative element (ICE) seems to play a major role in the emergence of multidrug resistant Vibrio cholerae. This study fully characterized, by whole genome sequencing, new ICEs carried by multidrug resistant V. cholerae O1 strains from Nigeria (2010) (ICEVchNig1) and Nepal (1994) (ICEVchNep1). The gene content and gene order of these two ICEs are the same, and identical to ICEVchInd5, ICEVchBan5 and ICEVchHai1 previously identified in multidrug resistant V. cholerae O1. This ICE is characterized by dfrA1, sul2, strAB and floR antimicrobial resistance genes, and by unique gene content in HS4 and HS5 ICE regions. Screening for ICEs, in publicly available V. cholerae genomes, revealed the occurrence and widespread distribution of this ICE among V. cholerae O1. Metagenomic analysis found segments of this ICE in marine environments far from the direct influence of the cholera epidemic. Therefore, this study revealed the epidemiology of a spatio-temporal prevalent ICE in V. cholerae O1. Its occurrence and dispersion in V. cholerae O1 strains from different continents throughout more than two decades can be indicative of its role in the fitness of the current pandemic lineage.