Characterising AMR Plasmid Transmission in the Gut Microbiome

Kessler, Celia (2021). Characterising AMR Plasmid Transmission in the Gut Microbiome. University of Birmingham. M.Sc.

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Antimicrobial resistance poses an urgent threat to global health. In particular, strains of the bacterial family Enterobacteriaceae resistant to last-line carbapenem antibiotics have been identified by the World Health Organisation as a critical priority for drug development. The spread of carbapenem resistance is aided by the horizontal transfer of resistance genes to susceptible bacteria on plasmids, which is commonplace in environments of high bacterial density such as the human gut microbiome. Reducing the transfer and stability of such plasmids is an attractive strategy for tackling antibiotic resistance, especially in the gut microbiome as only resistant bacteria are targeted whilst the rest of the microbiome is left intact: a quality lacking from traditional antibiotic therapy. Here, an investigation was begun to understand the conjugative dynamics of a carbapenemase-encoding plasmid in Klebsiella pneumoniae with and without co-culture with members of the commensal gut microbiota, in a simple in vitro model of the gut microbiome, wherein Bacteroides fragilis was not found to affect conjugation frequency. In parallel, an investigation into natural extracts of the culinary spices turmeric and black pepper as potential anti-plasmid agents was undertaken, to characterise them as potential agents for targeting conjugation in the gut microbiome. A literature review explored more complex established in vitro models with the potential for incorporation into such investigations into plasmid conjugation.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Sc.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Sc.
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
School or Department: School of Immunity and Infection
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QR Microbiology
R Medicine > RB Pathology


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