Genome evolution and plasticity of Serratia marcescens: an important multidrug resistant nosocomial pathogen

Atsushi Iguchi, Yutaka Nagaya, Elizabeth Pradel, Tadasuke Ooka, Yoshitoshi Ogura, Keisuke Katsura, Ken Kurokawa, Kenshiro Oshima, Masahira Hattori, Julian Parkhill, Mohamed Sebaihia, Sarah Coulthurst, Naomasa Gotoh, Nicholas R. Thomson (Lead / Corresponding author), Jonathan J. Ewbank, Tetsuya Hayashi (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    133 Citations (Scopus)
    214 Downloads (Pure)


    Serratia marcescens is an important nosocomial pathogen that can cause an array of infections, most notably of the urinary tract and bloodstream. Naturally, it is found in many environmental niches, and is capable of infecting plants and animals. The emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant strains producing extended-spectrum or metallo beta-lactamases now pose a threat to public health worldwide. Here we report the complete genome sequences of two carefully selected S. marcescens strains, a multidrug-resistant clinical isolate (strain SM39) and an insect isolate (strain Db11). Our comparative analyses reveal the core genome of S. marcescens and define the potential metabolic capacity, virulence, and multi-drug resistance of this species. We show a remarkable intra-species genetic diversity, both at the sequence level and with regards genome flexibility, which may reflect the diversity of niches inhabited by members of this species. A broader analysis with other Serratia species identifies a set of ca. 3,000 genes that characterize the genus. Within this apparent genetic diversity, we identified many genes implicated in the high virulence potential and antibiotic resistance of SM39, including the metallo beta-lactamase and multiple other drug resistance determinants carried on plasmid pSMC1. We further show that pSMC1 is most closely related to plasmids circulating in Pseudomonas species. Our data will provide a valuable basis for future studies on S. marcescens and new insights into the genetic mechanisms that underlie the emergence of pathogens highly resistant to multiple antimicrobial agents.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2096-2110
    Number of pages15
    JournalGenome Biology and Evolution
    Issue number8
    Early online date28 Jul 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


    Dive into the research topics of 'Genome evolution and plasticity of Serratia marcescens: an important multidrug resistant nosocomial pathogen'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this