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The alarming rise of ciprofloxacin-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been reported in several clinical studies. Though the mutation of resistance genes and their role in drug resistance has been researched, the process by which the bacterium acquires high-level resistance is still not well understood. How does the genomic evolution of P. aeruginosa affect resistance development? Could the exposure of antibiotics to the bacteria enrich genomic variants that lead to the development of resistance, and if so, how are these variants distributed through the genome? To answer these questions, we performed 454 pyrosequencing and a whole genome analysis both before and after exposure to ciprofloxacin. The comparative sequence data revealed 93 unique resistance strain variation sites, which included a mutation in the DNA gyrase subunit A gene. We generated variation-distribution maps comparing the wild and resistant types, and isolated 19 candidates from three discrete resistance-associated high variability regions that had available transposon mutants, to perform a ciprofloxacin exposure assay. Of these region candidates with transposon disruptions, 79% (15/19) showed a reduction in the ability to gain high-level resistance, suggesting that genes within these high variability regions might enrich for certain functions associated with resistance development.

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This is a copy of an article published in Microbial Drug Resistance © 2013 by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; Microbial Drug Resistance is available online at doi: 10.1089/mdr.2012.0258

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