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Cystic fibrosis (CF) lung infections caused by members of the Burkholderia cepacia complex, such as Burkholderia multivorans, are associated with high rates of mortality and morbidity. We performed a population genomics study of 111 B. multivorans sputum isolates from one CF patient through three stages of infection including an early incident isolate, deep sampling of a one-year period of chronic infection occurring weeks before a lung transplant, and deep sampling of a post-transplant infection. We reconstructed the evolutionary history of the population and used a lineage-controlled genome-wide association study (GWAS) approach to identify genetic variants associated with antibiotic resistance. We found the incident isolate was basally related to the rest of the strains and more susceptible to antibiotics from three classes (β-lactams, aminoglycosides, quinolones). The chronic infection isolates diversified into multiple, distinct genetic lineages and showed reduced antimicrobial susceptibility to the same antibiotics. The post-transplant reinfection isolates derived from the same source as the incident isolate and were genetically distinct from the chronic isolates. They also had a level of susceptibility in between that of the incident and chronic isolates. We identified numerous examples of potential parallel pathoadaptation, in which multiple mutations were found in the same locus or even codon. The set of parallel pathoadaptive loci was enriched for functions associated with virulence and resistance. Our GWAS analysis identified statistical associations between a polymorphism in the ampD locus with resistance to β-lactams, and polymorphisms in an araC transcriptional regulator and an outer membrane porin with resistance to both aminoglycosides and quinolones. Additionally, these three loci were independently mutated four, three and two times, respectively, providing further support for parallel pathoadaptation. Finally, we identified a minimum of 14 recombination events, and observed that loci carrying putative parallel pathoadaptations and polymorphisms statistically associated with β-lactam resistance were over-represented in these recombinogenic regions.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS pathogens

Publication Date





Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Humans, Burkholderia cepacia complex, Burkholderia Infections, Evolution, Molecular, Drug Resistance, Bacterial, Recombination, Genetic, Genes, Bacterial, Genetic Variation, Genome-Wide Association Study