Monitoring plasmid-mediated horizontal gene transfer in microbiomes: recent advances and future perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

The emergence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria constitutes an increasing global health concern. Although it is well recognized that the cornerstone underlying this phenomenon is the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance via plasmids and other mobile genetic elements, the antimicrobial resistance transfer routes remain largely uncharted. In this review, we describe different methods for assessing the transfer frequency and host ranges of plasmids within complex microbiomes. The discussion is centered around the critical evaluation of recent advances for monitoring the fate of fluorescently tagged plasmids in bacterial communities through the coupling of fluorescence activated cell sorting and next generation sequencing techniques. We argue that this approach constitutes an exceptional tool for obtaining quantitative data regarding the extent of plasmid transfer, key disseminating taxa, and possible propagation routes. The integration of this information will provide valuable insights on how to develop alternative avenues for fighting the rise of antimicrobial resistant pathogens, as well as the means for constructing more comprehensive risk assessment models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-67
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 200858797