The enterococcus cassette chromosome, a genomic variation enabler in enterococci
AuthorSivertsen, Audun; James Peter, Jessin Janice; Pedersen, Torunn Annie; Wagner, Theresa; Hegstad, Joachim; Hegstad, Kristin
Enterococcus faecium has a highly variable genome prone to recombination and horizontal gene transfer. Here, we have identified a novel genetic island with an insertion locus and mobilization genes similar to those of staphylococcus cassette chromosome elements SCCmec. This novel element termed the enterococcus cassette chromosome (ECC) element was located in the 3′ region of rlmH and encoded large serine recombinases ccrAB similar to SCCmec. Horizontal transfer of an ECC element termed ECC::cat containing a knock-in cat chloramphenicol resistance determinant occurred in the presence of a conjugative reppLG1plasmid. We determined the ECC::cat insertion site in the 3′ region of rlmH in the E. faecium recipient by long-read sequencing. ECC::cat also mobilized by homologous recombination through sequence identity between flanking insertion sequence (IS) elements in ECC::cat and the conjugative plasmid. The ccrABEntgenes were found in 69 of 516 E. faecium genomes in GenBank. Full-length ECC elements were retrieved from 32 of these genomes. ECCs were flanked by attRand attL sites of approximately 50 bp. The attECC sequences were found by PCR and sequencing of circularized ECCs in three strains. The genes in ECCs contained an amalgam of common and rare E. faecium genes. Taken together, our data imply that ECC elements act as hot spots for genetic exchange and contribute to the large variation of accessory genes found in E. faecium.
Source at https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00402-18 .