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Title: Conjugative transfer and phylogeny of an antibiotic resistant haemophilus element, ICEHin1056
Author: Robinson, Esther Rhiannon
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 0742
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is a growing threat to global health. Many of the genes responsible for resistance are carried on mobile genetic elements which can be transferred laterally between strains and species. The most important of these are conjugative and mobilisable elements including plasmids and integrating and conjugating elements, ICEs. Haemophi/us influenzae is an important human pathogen, which was first identified as carrying antibiotic resistance genes in the 1970s. Much of this resistance is encoded by ICEHin1056, which is present in H. influenzae strains worldwide. The aims of this study were to describe features of the biology of ICEHin1056, with particular reference to the genetic site and control mechanisms responsible for instigating conjugative transfer. The origin of transfer has been localised to a sequence on ICEHin1056 and an environmental stressor initiating conjugative transfer, oxidative stress, has been identified. In addition, detailed phylogenetic analysis has demonstrated ICEHin1056 to be part of a much larger family of mobile genetic elements, widely distributed in proteobacteria and carrying accessory genes responsible for survival in adverse environments, virulence and antibiotic resistance. The ICEs in the family have conserved homology of gene content and synteny of gene arrangement over deep evolutionary time, challenging the accepted paradigm of modular mosaicism of mobile genetic elements. A key event in increasing dissemination of the ICE, acquisition of a phage type integrase gene has also been identified. The findings presented provide significant insight into the behaviour of ICEs and may in future allow predictions about the spread of virulence factors and antibiotic resistance genes, with important implications for human and animal health.
Supervisor: Crook, Derrick W. M. ; Hood, Derek Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Drug resistance ; Anti-infective agents ; Plasmids ; Haemophilus influenzae