Evolution of gentamicin and arsenite resistance acquisition in ralstonia pickettii water isolates

Pompeyo Ferro, Ivone Vaz-Moreira, Célia M. Manaia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Ralstonia pickettii are ubiquitous in water environments. Members of this species are frequently, but not always, resistant to both gentamicin and arsenite. Gentamicin and arsenite co-resistance and the putative molecular mechanisms were investigated. A group of 37 R. pickettii strains isolated from drinking water and hospital wastewater were characterized for gentamicin and arsenite resistance phenotypes, the number and size of plasmids, and screened for genetic elements associated with arsenite tolerance, Integrative and Conjugative Elements (ICEs), among other. The genomes of three representative strains were compared. Most gentamicin resistant (GR) isolates (32/33) were resistant to arsenite, and harbored ICE- and ars operon-related genes. These genetic elements were not detected in any of the five arsenite susceptible strains, regardless of the GR (n = 1) or gentamicin susceptibility (GS) (n = 4) phenotype. The comparison of the genomes of two GR (one resistant and one susceptible to arsenite) and one GS strains suggested that these phenotypes correspond to three phylogroups, distinguished by presence of some genes only in GR isolates, in addition to point mutations in functional genes. The presence of ICEs and ars operon-related genes suggest that arsenite resistance might have been acquired by GR lineages.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103790
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Arsenite resistance
  • Gentamicin resistance
  • Integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs)
  • Intrinsic antibiotic resistance
  • Ubiquitous bacteria


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