ARTICLE: Global phylogenomic analyses of Mycobacterium abscessus provide context for non cystic fibrosis infections and the evolution of antibiotic resistance

AUTHORS: Ryan A. Bronson, Chhavi Gupta, Abigail L. Manson, Jan A. NguyenAsli Bahadirli-Talbott, Nicole M. Parrish, Ashlee M. Earl & Keira A. Cohen

JOURNAL: Nat Commun. 2021 Aug 26;12(1):5145. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-25484-9.


Mycobacterium abscessus (MAB) is an emerging pathogen that leads to chronic lung infections. To date, the global population structure of non-cystic fibrosis (CF) MAB and evolutionary patterns of drug resistance emergence have not been investigated. Here we construct a global dataset of 1,279 MAB whole genomes from CF or non-CF patients. We utilize whole genome analysis to assess relatedness, phylogeography, and drug resistance evolution. MAB isolates from CF and non-CF hosts are interspersed throughout the phylogeny, such that the majority of dominant circulating clones include isolates from both populations, indicating that global spread of MAB clones is not sequestered to CF contexts. We identify a large clade of M. abscessus harboring the erm(41) T28C mutation, predicted to confer macrolide susceptibility in this otherwise macrolide-resistant species. Identification of multiple evolutionary events within this clade, consistent with regain of wild type, intrinsic macrolide resistance, underscores the critical importance of macrolides in MAB.

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