Capturing the Resistome: A targeted capture method to reveal antibiotic resistance determinants in metagenomes
The identification and association of the nucleotide sequences encoding antibiotic resistance elements is critical to improve surveillance and monitor trends in antibiotic resistance. Current methods to study antibiotic resistance in various environments rely on extensive deep sequencing or laborious culturing of fastidious organisms, which are both heavily time-consuming operations. An accurate and sensitive method to identify both rare and common resistance elements in complex metagenomic samples is needed. Referencing the Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database, we designed a set of 37,826 probes to specifically target over 2000 nucleotide sequences associated with antibiotic resistance in clinically relevant bacteria. Testing of this probeset on DNA libraries generated from multi-drug resistant bacteria to selectively capture resistance genes reproducibly produced higher reads on-target at greater length of coverage when compared to shotgun sequencing. We also identified additional resistance gene sequences from human gut microbiome samples that sequencing alone was not able to detect. Our method to capture the resistome enables sensitive gene detection in diverse environments where antibiotic resistance represents less than 0.1% of the metagenome.