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Home » Archive » 2022

TDK conference 2022

Canine saliva as a possible source of antimicrobial resistance genes
Kovács Eszter Gabriella - year 5
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Center for Bioinformatics
Supervisors: Dr. Adrienn Tóth, Dr. Norbert Solymosi

Abstract:

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is becoming more and more common these days, posing a threat to public and animal health, the possibility of the ineffectiveness of antimicrobial agents and, indirectly, the cause of death. The range of effective antibiotics is narrowing and not keeping up with the rise of multi-resistant bacteria, causing thousands of life-threatening incurable infections every year.

In addition to the irresponsible use of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine, their use in the food industry to increase yields, can be held responsible for the globally developed and widespread resistance. The process is made possible by horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between bacteria, through which bacterial populations can freely exchange antimicrobial resistance genes (ARG) among themselves.

In addition to the increasing number of companion animals, the change to a closer relationship is also a significant factor in the migration of resistant bacteria and genes from the pet to the owner. Dogs often sleep with their owners and lick their faces, and unfortunately dog bites are also not uncommon, that contributes greatly to the interspecies spread of AMR.

In the thesis, we looked for the answer to whether the contact of the microbiome of companion animals with the human body is a danger from the point of view of the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes. We screened and sequenced the genomes of dog saliva samples available on the Internet from the United States, revealing resistance genes hidden in the sample.

We collected 26 samples, which were filtered and selected in a specific way, compiled into contigs, and then taxonomically classified. We were able to identify several ARG sequences in the samples. The most frequently occurring bacterial genera in the saliva samples were Porphyromonas, Prevotella and Pasteurella and ARGs against aminoglycosides, carbapenems, cephalosporins, glycylcyclines, lincosamides, macrolides, oxazolidinone, penams, phenicols, pleuromutilins, streptogramins, sulfonamides and tetracyclines could have been identified.

A large number of antimicrobial resistance genes associated with dog saliva samples and potentially affected antibiotic groups show a correlation. Horizontal gene transfer, spreading antibiotic resistance and close cohabitation with small animals create an opportunity for resistance genes to migrate from dog to owner.

Further investigations are needed to assess the significance of the described results more precisely, but this case study points to the potential source of danger hidden in dog saliva and behind keeping close companion animals.



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