Cooperative antibiotic resistance facilitates horizontal gene transfer
The rise of β-lactam resistance among pathogenic bacteria, due to the horizontal transfer of plasmid-encoded β-lactamases, is a current global health crisis. Importantly, β-lactam hydrolyzation by β-lactamases, not only protects the producing cells but also sensitive neighboring cells cooperatively. Yet, how such cooperative traits affect plasmid transmission and maintenance is currently poorly understood. Here we experimentally show that KPC-2 β-lactamase expression and extracellular activity were higher when encoded on plasmids compared with the chromosome, resulting in the elevated rescue of sensitive non-producers.
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