October 29, 2022
Insight into Co-Hosts of Nitrate Reduction Genes and Antibiotic Resistance Genes in an Urban River of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
AbstractMicrobial co-hosts of nitrate reduction genes (NRGs) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) have been recently reported, but their ecology and biochemical role in urban waterways remain largely unknown. Here, we collected 69 surface water and sediment samples in the Huangshui River on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau during the wet and dry season associated with comparatively low and high antibiotic levels. Using metagenomic sequencing, we retrieved 278 medium-to-high-quality metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of NRG-ARG co-hosts, mainly belonging to the phyla Proteobacteria, Actinobacteriota, and Bacteroidota. Of microorganisms carrying ARGs, a high proportion (75.3?94.9%) also encoded NRGs, supporting nitrate reducing bacteria as dominant hosts of ARGs. Seasonal changes in antibiotic levels corresponded to significant variation in the relative abundance and community composition of NRG-ARG co-host in both water and sediments, resulting in a concomitant change in antibiotic resistance pathways. In contrast, the contribution of NRG-ARG co-hosts to nitrate reduction was stable between seasons. We identify specific antibiotics (e.g., sulphonamides) and microbial taxa (e.g., Acinetobacter and Hafnia) that may disproportionately impact these relationships to serve as a basis for laboratory investigations into bioremediation strategies. Our study suggests that highly abundant nitrate reducing microorganisms in contaminated environments may also directly impact human health as carriers of antibiotic resistance.
Published: October 29, 2022