Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Mathematical Modelling to Study the Horizontal Transfer of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in Bacteria: Current State of the Field and Recommendations

Version 1 : Received: 12 April 2019 / Approved: 15 April 2019 / Online: 15 April 2019 (11:16:47 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 5 May 2019 / Approved: 6 May 2019 / Online: 6 May 2019 (10:59:05 CEST)

How to cite: Leclerc, Q.J.; Lindsay, J.A.; Knight, G.M. Mathematical Modelling to Study the Horizontal Transfer of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in Bacteria: Current State of the Field and Recommendations. Preprints 2019, 2019040161 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201904.0161.v1). Leclerc, Q.J.; Lindsay, J.A.; Knight, G.M. Mathematical Modelling to Study the Horizontal Transfer of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in Bacteria: Current State of the Field and Recommendations. Preprints 2019, 2019040161 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201904.0161.v1).

Abstract

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest public health challenges we are currently facing. To develop effective interventions against this, it is essential to understand the processes behind the spread of AMR. These are partly dependent on the dynamics of horizontal transfer of resistance genes between bacteria, which can occur by conjugation (direct contact), transformation (uptake from the environment) or transduction (mediated by bacteriophages). Mathematical modelling is a powerful tool to investigate the dynamics of AMR, however its application to study the horizontal transfer of AMR genes is currently unclear. In this systematic review, we searched for mathematical modelling studies which focused on horizontal transfer of AMR genes. We compared their aims and methods using a list of predetermined criteria, and utilized our results to assess the current state of this research field. Of the 26 studies we identified, most focused on the transfer of single genes by conjugation in Escherichia coli in culture, and its impact on the bacterial evolutionary dynamics. Our findings highlight the existence of an important research gap on the dynamics of transformation and transduction, and the overall public health implications of horizontal transfer of AMR genes. To further develop this field and improve our ability to control AMR, it is essential that we clarify the structural complexity required to study the dynamics of horizontal gene transfer, which will require cooperation between microbiologists and modellers.

Subject Areas

antimicrobial resistance; horizontal gene transfer; mathematical modelling; epidemiology; microbiology

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