Abstract

Long-term overuse of antibiotics has driven the propagation and spreading of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) such as efflux pumps in the environment, which can be transferred to clinically relevant pathogens. This study explored the abundance and diversity of ARGs and mobile genetic elements within bacterial communities from sediments of three Western Balkans glacial lakes: Plav Lake (high impact of human population), Black Lake (medium impact of human population) and Donje Bare Lake (remote lake, minimal impact of human population) via shotgun metagenomics. Assembled metagenomic sequences revealed that Resistance-Nodulation-Division (RND) efflux pumps genes were most abundant in metagenome from the Plav Lake. The Integron Finder bioinformatics tool detected 38 clusters of attC sites lacking integron-integrases (CALIN) elements: 20 from Plav Lake, four from Black Lake and 14 from Donje Bare Lake. A complete integron sequence was recovered only from the assembled metagenome from Plav Lake. Plasmid contents within the metagenomes were similar, with proportions of contigs being plasmid-related: 1.73% for Plav Lake, 1.59% for Black Lake and 1.64% for Donje Bare Lake. The investigation showed that RNDs and mobile genetic elements content correlated with human population impact.

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