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Pathways for horizontal gene transfer in bacteria revealed by a global map of their plasmidsPathways for horizontal gene transfer in bacteria revealed by a global map of their plasmidsSantiago Redondo-Salvo, Raúl Fernández-López, Raúl Ruiz, Luis Vielva, María de Toro, Eduardo P C Rocha, M Pilar Garcillán-Barcia, Fernando de la Cruz2020-07-16T22:00:00Z<p><span style="color:#262626;font-family:"segoe ui semilight", "segoe ui", segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size:1.15em;">Abstract</span><br></p><p><br></p><div><p>Plasmids can mediate horizontal gene transfer of antibiotic resistance, virulence genes, and other adaptive factors across bacterial populations. Here, we analyze genomic composition and pairwise sequence identity for over 10,000 reference plasmids to obtain a global map of the prokaryotic plasmidome. Plasmids in this map organize into discrete clusters, which we call plasmid taxonomic units (PTUs), with high average nucleotide identity between its members. We identify 83 PTUs in the order Enterobacterales, 28 of them corresponding to previously described archetypes. Furthermore, we develop an automated algorithm for PTU identification, and validate its performance using stochastic blockmodeling. The algorithm reveals a total of 276 PTUs in the bacterial domain. Each PTU exhibits a characteristic host distribution, organized into a six-grade scale (I-VI), ranging from plasmids restricted to a single host species (grade I) to plasmids able to colonize species from different phyla (grade VI). More than 60% of the plasmids in the global map are in groups with host ranges beyond the species barrier.<br></p></div><p><br></p><p>​Nat Commun. 2020 Jul 17;11(1):3602. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17278-2.</p><p><br></p>332