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- Characterization of the human gut resistome, microbiome, and metabolome during enteric infection
- Hansen, Zoe A.
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
The human gut environment is replete with host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions that shape human health. This system is also a known reservoir for antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The ubiquity of AMR is alarming, as greater than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections and 35,000 deaths occur annually in the United States. Multiple human pathogens have demonstrated reduced susceptibility to various antibiotics, including enteric pathogens such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella,...
Show moreThe human gut environment is replete with host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions that shape human health. This system is also a known reservoir for antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The ubiquity of AMR is alarming, as greater than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections and 35,000 deaths occur annually in the United States. Multiple human pathogens have demonstrated reduced susceptibility to various antibiotics, including enteric pathogens such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and STEC, which cause millions of foodborne infections each year. The increasing incidence of antibiotic resistant enteric infections substantiates a need to further characterize these pathogens’ role in the curation and dissemination of AMR across environments. In this dissertation, a total of 223 human stools were assessed using shotgun metagenomics sequencing to investigate gut microbiome changes associated with enteric infection. Sixty-three stools were collected from patients suffering from enteric infection between 2011-2015 by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Sixty-one of these patients submitted a follow-up sample between 1- and 29-weeks post-infection, and 99 healthy household members also submitted stools to serve as controls. In Chapter 2, a subset of patients infected with Campylobacter spp. and their related controls were investigated to assess the gut resistome, or collection of all antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) and their genetic precursors, related to infection. This examination revealed significantly higher ARG diversity in infected patients compared to healthy controls. Specifically, levels of multi-drug resistance (MDR) were greatly increased during infection. Three case clusters with distinct resistomes were identified; two of these clusters had unique ARG profiles that differed from those of healthy family members. In Chapter 3, a larger subset of 120 paired samples (60 infected vs. 60 recovered) were investigated to further characterize resistome and microbiome fluctuations related to infection and recovery. Again, infected patients harbored greater resistome diversity; however, recovered individuals displayed higher diversity in their microbiota composition. Despite their lower overall microbial diversity, patients with acute infections showed an increase in the abundance of members of Enterobacteriaceae, with specific expansion of the genus Escherichia. Host-tracking analysis revealed that many Enterobacteriaceae carried ARGs related to MDR and biocide resistance, a finding with broad implications for the ecology of resistance during infection. The fourth chapter explored metabolic capacity of gut microbial communities. In addition to metabolic pathway prediction, untargeted metabolomics was performed via LC/MS for 122 paired samples. Pathway annotation suggested that infected individuals contain greater microbial functional capacity, but metabolomics indicated greater overall metabolite diversity among recovered patients. Infection was associated with enhanced nitrogen and amino acid metabolism pathways. Although many metabolites remain uncharacterized, their presence or absence among individuals suggest their importance during and after infection. Altogether, the findings of this dissertation further characterize ecological consequences related to enteric infection in the human gut. Specifically, this research illustrates the importance of enteric infection in the dissemination and persistence of resistance determinants. Moreover, the expansion of Enterobacteriaceae and the evident increase in nitrogen- and amino acid-related metabolism during infection represent potential targets for future intervention practices.