Facilitation of Bacterial Conjugation and Horizontal Gene Transfer of Antibiotic Resistance Genes Through Filter Feeding In Aquatic Environments

Kathryn Eriksen, Cole Condon, Sofia Belladonna, and Dr. Bethany Henderson-Dean, Department of Biology, University of Findlay, 1000 N. Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840

The prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in aquatic environments has become heightened overtime due to a plethora of environmental and societal influences that misuse and overuse antibiotics. Recently filter feeders have been shown to be novel facilitators in the production and dissemination of waterborne, multidrug resistant bacteria by increasing the feasibility of horizontal gene transfer (HGT). This study assessed the augmenting role of filtration and/or gut passage in Pomacea bridgesii (mystery snails) and Lumbriculus variegatus (blackworms) organisms regarding transfer of plasmid based antibiotic resistance genes (ampicillin, oxytetracycline, and spectinomycin) between Escherichia coli strains. Additionally, it quantified the rate by which horizontal gene transfer occurred in the environment when P. bridgesii and L. variegatus were placed into antibiotic selective and nonselective habitats. Screening of potential bacterial transformants occurred with plating water samples on Eosin Methylene Blue (EMB) impregnated with a combination of oxytetracycline, ampicillin, and/or spectinomycin at minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC). Horizontal gene transfer was confirmed through DNA extraction of total DNA from each isolate followed by detection of resistance genes using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Experimental results demonstrated the ability of P. bridgesii and L. variegatus to facilitate and increase the efficiency and rate of horizontal gene transfer in the environment in both selective and nonselective environments.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Kathryn Eriksen, Cole Condon, Sofia Belladonna

Institution: University of Findlay

Type: Poster

Subject: Microbiology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 5622