About this Research Topic
It is well-established that the spread of many multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria is clonal. The MDR major clone/sequence type (ST) isolates pose a serious threat for hospitalized patients and remain responsible for a substantial part of mortality observed with nosocomial infections.
The widespread dissemination of the major MDR clones and the observation that they often replace local isolates of the same species strongly suggest that the successful MDR clone isolates command features conferring on them some form of physiological advantage. Consequently the identification of the characteristics governing the clonal dynamics of pathogenic MDR bacteria remains one of the highest priorities of medical microbiology.
The mechanism of clonal dynamics in MDR bacteria has been studied extensively for a couple of decades. Nevertheless, the most important factors remain equivocal. An argument between researchers favoring antibiotic resistance mechanisms as the prime determinants and scientists championing virulence factors has not been conclusively settled. We think that the available data strongly support a principal role for antibiotic resistance determinants associated with favorable fitness vis-a-vis virulence factors in a high antibiotic environment.
Though a number of antibiotic resistance determinants were reported to have been linked to individual or multiple clones of MDR bacteria, we believe that many more associations remain unexplored and plenty of relevant physiological effects continue undetected. Most antibiotic resistance determinants will exert a fitness cost on the isolates which the pathogens will undertake utmost efforts to extenuate. However, the complex impact of diverse resistance determinants on the fitness of pathogens – especially when carried on mobile genetic elements - remains largely uninvestigated in a clonal fashion.
We hope that this Topic, in addition to expanding our knowledge on clonality, will encourage the establishment of a future database, perhaps in consort with one of the active databases for antimicrobial resistance. This extended database would collect data on antibiotic resistance determinants not only at the species level but also in a clonal/ST affiliation on some important pathogens. A database of this type would permit the demonstration of associations between the acquisition of a particular determinant and the concomitant expansion or retreat of a particular clone/ST. The data could then be collated to information on antibiotic consumption.
We welcome manuscripts to the Topic on :
- any association of antibiotic resistance determinant(s) with clonality/STs in a static or dynamic epidemiological situation in the human-, or veterinary spheres and the environment
- the exploration of the genetic environment of the acquired resistance determinant(s) in a clonal context
- the characterization of plasmids and MGEs in the clonal context
- the investigation of the fitness effects of all of these determinants/elements in vitro and in vivo in both an antibiotic and an antibiotic-free environment.
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