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BMC Microbiology


Introduction: Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of bacterial isolates can be used to identify antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes. Previous studies have shown that genotype-based AMR has variable accuracy for predicting carbapenem resistance in carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE); however, the majority of these studies used short-read platforms (e.g. Illumina) to generate sequence data. In this study, our objective was to determine whether Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) long-read WGS would improve detection of carbapenem AMR genes with respect to short-read only WGS for nine clinical CRE samples. We measured the minimum inhibitory breakpoint (MIC) using two phenotype assays (MicroScan and ETEST) for six antibiotics, including two carbapenems (meropenem and ertapenem) and four non-carbapenems (gentamicin, ciprofloxacin, cefepime, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole). We generated short-read data using the Illumina NextSeq and long-read data using the ONT MinION. Four assembly methods were compared: ONT-only assembly; ONT-only assembly plus short-read polish; ONT + short-read hybrid assembly plus short-read polish; short-read only assembly. Results: Consistent with previous studies, our results suggest that the hybrid assembly produced the highest quality results as measured by gene completeness and contig circularization. However, ONT-only methods had minimal impact on the detection of AMR genes and plasmids compared to short-read methods, although, notably, differences in gene copy number differed between methods. All four assembly methods showed identical presence/absence of the blaKPC-2 carbapenemase gene for all samples. The two phenotype assays showed 100% concordant results for the non-carbapenems, but only 65% concordance for the two carbapenems. The presence/absence of AMR genes was 100% concordant with AMR phenotypes for all four non-carbapenem drugs, although only 22%—50% sensitivity for the carbapenems. Conclusions: Overall, these findings suggest that the lack of complete correspondence between CRE AMR genotype and phenotype for carbapenems, while concerning, is independent of sequencing platform/assembly method.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.