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Title: Serving Two Masters: Effect of Escherichia coli Dual Resistance on Antibiotic Susceptibility
The prevalence of multidrug-resistant bacteria and their increased pathogenicity has led to a growing interest in metallic antimicrobial materials and bacteriophages as potential alternatives to conventional antibiotics. This study examines how resistance to excess iron (III) influences the evolution of bacteriophage resistance in the bacterium Escherichia coli. We utilized experimental evolution in E. coli to test the effect of the evolution of phage T7 resistance on populations resistant to excess iron (III) and populations without excess iron resistance. Phage resistance evolved rapidly in both groups. Dual-resistant (iron (III)/phage) populations were compared to their controls (excess iron (III)-resistant, phage-resistant, no resistance to either) for their performance against each stressor, excess iron (III) and phage; and correlated resistances to excess iron (II), gallium (III), silver (I) and conventional antibiotics. Excess iron (III)/phage-resistant populations demonstrated superior 24 h growth compared to all other populations when exposed to increasing concentrations of iron (II, III), gallium (III), ampicillin, and tetracycline. No differences in 24 h growth were shown between excess iron (III)/phage-resistant and excess iron (III)-resistant populations in chloramphenicol, sulfonamide, and silver (I). The genomic analysis identified selective sweeps in the iron (III) resistant (rpoB, rpoC, yegB, yeaG), phage-resistant (clpX →/→ lon, uvaB, yeaG, fliR, gatT, ypjF, waaC, rpoC, pgi, and yjbH) and iron (III)/phage resistant populations (rcsA, hldE, rpoB, and waaC). E. coli selected for resistance to both excess iron (III) and T7 phage showed some evidence of a synergistic effect on various components of fitness. Dual selection resulted in correlated resistances to ionic metals {iron (II), gallium (III), and silver (I)} and several conventional antibiotics. There is a likelihood that this sort of combination antimicrobial treatment may result in bacterial variants with multiple resistances.  more » « less
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