University of Gothenburg

Evolution of resistance

Understanding how resistance has evolved under the influence of mankind so far is critical for predicting, and managing, future resistance development.

A key question is to understand in what species, in what environments and under the influence on what drivers clinically important antibiotic resistance genes likely were mobilized and transferred to pathogens in the first place. While the evolutionary path will differ for different genes, we believe there are generalizations to be made, generalizations that may be critical for steering mitigations. We explore the origins of resistance genes, as well as the mechanisms involved, primarily though comparative genomics.

The most striking feature of the environmental microbiome is its immense diversity, providing numerous genes that potentially could be acquired and used by pathogens to counteract the effect of antibiotics. We are dedicated to characterize and understand the wider resistome both through functional screens (functional metagenomics) and predictive modelling. Such knowledge may help us understand what resistance factors that may emerge in pathogens in the near future.

Examples of recent papers:

Larsson DGJ, Flach C-F. (2021). Antibiotic resistance in the environment. Nature Reviews Microbiology.  Read-only link:

Ebmeyer S, Kristiansson E, Larsson DGJ. (2021). A framework for identifying the recent origins of mobile antibiotic resistance genes. Communications Biology. 4:8.

Berglund F, Böhm M, Martinsson A, Ebmeyer S, Österlund T, Johnning A, Larsson DGJ, Kristiansson E. (2020). Comprehensive screening of genomic and metagenomic data reveals a large diversity of tetracycline resistance genes. Microbial Genomics. 6.

Razavi M, Flach C-F, Kristiansson E, Larsson DGJ. (2020). The association between insertion sequences and antibiotic resistance genes. mSphere. 5: e00418-20.  DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00418-20.