Plant resistome profiling in evolutionary old bog vegetation provides new clues to understand emergence of multi-resistance

Melanie Maria Obermeier, Wisnu Adi Wicaksono, Julian Taffner, Alessandro Bergna, Anja Poehlein, Tomislav Cernava, Stefanie Lindstaedt, Mario Lovric, Christina Andrea Müller Bogotá*, Gabriele Berg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The expanding antibiotic resistance crisis calls for a more in depth understanding of the importance of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) in pristine environments. We, therefore, studied the microbiome associated with Sphagnum moss forming the main vegetation in undomesticated, evolutionary old bog ecosystems. In our complementary analysis of culture collections, metagenomic data and a fosmid library from different geographic sites in Europe, we identified a low abundant but highly diverse pool of resistance determinants, which targets an unexpectedly broad range of 29 antibiotics including natural and synthetic compounds. This derives both, from the extraordinarily high abundance of efflux pumps (up to 96%), and the unexpectedly versatile set of ARGs underlying all major resistance mechanisms. Multi-resistance was frequently observed among bacterial isolates, e.g. in Serratia, Rouxiella, Pandoraea, Paraburkholderia and Pseudomonas. In a search for novel ARGs, we identified the new class A β-lactamase Mm3. The native Sphagnum resistome comprising a highly diversified and partially novel set of ARGs contributes to the bog ecosystem´s plasticity. Our results reinforce the ecological link between natural and clinically relevant resistomes and thereby shed light onto this link from the aspect of pristine plants. Moreover, they underline that diverse resistomes are an intrinsic characteristic of plant-associated microbial communities, they naturally harbour many resistances including genes with potential clinical relevance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalThe ISME Journal
Early online date11 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Microbiology

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