Identification of Plasmid-Encoded sRNAs in a blaNDM-1-Harboring Multidrug-Resistance Plasmid pNDM-HK in Enterobacteriaceae

Hoi-Kuan Kong, Xuan Liu, Wai U Lo, Qing Pan, Carmen O K Law, Ting F Chan, Pak L Ho, Terrence C K Lau

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4 Citations (SciVal)


Small RNAs (sRNAs) play significant roles in regulating gene expression post-transcriptionally in response to environmental changes in bacteria. In this work, we identified and characterized six novel sRNAs from an emerging multidrug-resistance (MDR) plasmid pNDM-HK, a New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase 1 gene (blaNDM-1)-carrying IncL/M plasmid that has caused worldwide threat in recent years. These sRNAs are located at different regions of pNDM-HK, such as replication, stability, and variable regions. Moreover, one of the plasmid-encoded sRNAs (NDM-sR3) functions in an Hfq-dependent manner and possibly plays roles in the fitness of pNDM-HK carrying bacteria. In addition, we attempted to construct the phylogenetic tree based on these novel sRNAs and surprisingly, the sRNA-phylogenetic tree provided significant information about the evolutionary pathway of pNDM-HK, including possible gene acquisition and insertion from relevant plasmids. Moreover, the sRNA-phylogenetic tree can specifically cluster the IncM2 type and distinguish it from other IncL/M subtypes. In summary, this is the first study to systematically identify and characterize sRNAs from clinically-isolated MDR plasmids. We believe that these newly found sRNAs could lead to further understanding and new directions to study the evolution and dissemination of the clinically MDR bacterial plasmids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number532
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018


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