Eastman Dental Institute


Detection of Novel Integrons in the Metagenome of Human Saliva

15 June 2016

Tansirichaiya S, Rahman MA, Antepowicz A, Mullany P, Roberts AP

PLoS One

Integrons are genetic elements capable of capturing and expressing open reading frames (ORFs) embedded within gene cassettes. They are involved in the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in clinically important pathogens. Although the ARGs are common in the oral cavity the association of integrons and antibiotic resistance has not been reported there.

In this work, a PCR-based approach was used to investigate the presence of integrons and associated gene cassettes in human oral metagenomic DNA obtained from both the UK and Bangladesh.

We identified a diverse array of gene cassettes containing ORFs predicted to confer antimicrobial resistance and other adaptive traits. The predicted proteins include a putative streptogramin A O-acetyltransferase, a bleomycin binding protein, cof-like hydrolase, competence and motility related proteins.

This is the first study detecting integron gene cassettes directly from oral metagenomic DNA samples. The predicted proteins are likely to carry out a multitude of functions; however, the function of the majority is yet unknown.