Genomic Modification of TonB and Emergence of Small-Colony Phenotype in VIM- and NDM-Producing Escherichia coli following Cefiderocol Exposure In Vitro

Kaan Kocer, Deniz Boudour-Halil, Quan Chanthalangsy, Aline Sähr, Klaus Heeg, Sébastien Boutin, Dennis Nurjadi


Knowledge on resistance mechanisms toward cefiderocol, a novel siderophore-conjugated cephalosporin antibiotic, is still limited. Although the presence of New-Delhi metallo-β-lactamase has been demonstrated to facilitate the resistance development toward cefiderocol via siderophore receptor mutations in Enterobacter cloacae and Klebsiella pneumoniae, the impact of metallo-β-lactamases on facilitating such mutations in Escherichia coli is not yet elucidated. Our study aimed to study the effect of the presence of various β-lactamases, such as NDM-5, VIM-1, KPC-2, and OXA-48, on the development of cefiderocol resistance in E. coli. To this end, we performed liquid mating to transfer these β-lactamases onto a defined K-12 E. coli background (J53) and exposed these transconjugants to increasing cefiderocol concentrations in a serial passage experiment. Cefiderocol-resistant isolates were genotyped by whole-genome sequencing to investigate the underlying resistance mechanism. Cefiderocol-resistant isolates emerged only in isolates producing VIM-1 and NDM-5 metallo-β-lactamase, but not in those producing the serine β-lactamases KPC-2 and OXA-48. We observed two distinct morphological changes of the J53 E. coli strain exhibiting reduced colony size after insertions of transposable elements in the tonB gene leading to alterations in the TonB binding site and morphological changes consistent with the small-colony variant (SCV) phenotype due to mutations in the hemB and hemH genes. Passaging experiments suggested that these phenotypes were highly plastic. The SCV phenotype is attributed to immune evasion and decreased susceptibility toward antibiotics. The emergence of SCV following cefiderocol exposure may have clinical implications for bacterial clearance and warrants further investigation.

ZeitschriftAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Seiten (von - bis)e0011823
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 17.05.2023