The complex resistomes of Paenibacillaceae reflect diverse antibiotic chemical ecologies Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract The ecology of antibiotic resistance involves the interplay of a long natural history of antibiotic production in the environment, and the modern selection of resistance in pathogens through human use of these drugs. Important components of the resistome are intrinsic resistance genes of environmental bacteria, evolved and acquired over millennia, and their mobilization, which drives dissemination in pathogens. Understanding the dynamics and evolution of resistance across bacterial taxa is essential to address the current crisis in drug-resistant infections. Here we report the exploration of antibiotic resistance in the Paenibacillaceae prompted by our discovery of an ancient intrinsic resistome in Paenibacillus sp. LC231, recovered from the isolated Lechuguilla cave environment. Using biochemical and gene expression analysis, we have mined the resistome of the second member of the Paenibacillaceae family, Brevibacillus brevis VM4, which produces several antimicrobial secondary metabolites. Using phylogenomics, we show that Paenibacillaceae resistomes are in flux, evolve mostly independent of secondary metabolite biosynthetic diversity, and are characterized by cryptic, redundant, pseudoparalogous, and orthologous genes. We find that in contrast to pathogens, mobile genetic elements are not significantly responsible for resistome remodeling. This offers divergent modes of resistome development in pathogens and environmental bacteria.


  • Pawlowski, Andrew C
  • Westman, Erin L
  • Koteva, Kalinka
  • Waglechner, Nicholas
  • Wright, Gerard

publication date

  • March 1, 2018