Polymyxin Resistance in Salmonella: exploring mutations and genetic dDeterminants of non-human isolates

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Until 2015, polymyxin resistance was primarily attributed to chromosomal mutations. However, with the first report of mobile colistin resistance (mcr-1) in commensal Escherichia coli from food animals in China, the landscape has changed. To evaluate the presence of polymyxin resistance in Salmonella spp., a drop screening test for colistin and polymyxin B was carried out on 1156 isolates of non-human origin (animals, food, and the environment), received in Brazil, between 2016 and 2021. Subsequently, 210 isolates with resistant results in the drop test were subjected to the gold-standard test (broth microdilution) for both colistin and polymyxin B. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of 102 resistant isolates was performed for a comprehensive analysis of associated genes. Surprisingly, none of the isolates resistant to colistin in the drop test harbored any of the mcr variants (mcr-1 to mcr-10). WGS identified that the most common mutations were found in pmrA (n= 22; T89S) and pmrB (n = 24; M15T, G73S, V74I, I83A, A111V). Other resistance determinants were also detected, such as the aac(6′)-Iaa gene in 72 isolates, while others carried beta-lactamase genes (blaTEM-1 blaCTX-M-2, blaCMY-2). Additionally, genes associated with fluoroquinolone resistance (qnrB19, qnrS1, oqxA/B) were detected in 11 isolates. Colistin and polymyxin B resistance were identified among Salmonella from non-human sources, but not associated with the mcr genes. Furthermore, the already-described mutations associated with polymyxin resistance were detected in only a small number of isolates, underscoring the need to explore and characterize unknown genes that contribute to resistance.
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