Emergence and Genomic Characterization of the First Reported optrA-Carrying Linezolid-Resistant Enterococci Isolated from Retail Broiler Meat in the United Arab Emirates

Ihab Habib, Akela Ghazawi, Glindya Bhagya Lakshmi, Mohamed Yousif Ibrahim Mohamed, Dan Li, Mushtaq Khan, Shafi Sahibzada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The foodborne transfer of resistant genes from enterococci to humans and their tolerance to several commonly used antimicrobials are of growing concern worldwide. Linezolid is a last-line drug for managing complicated illnesses resulting from multidrug-resistant Gram-positive bacteria. The optrA gene has been reported in enterococci as one of the acquired linezolid resistance mechanisms. The present study uses whole-genome sequencing analysis to characterize the first reported isolates of linezolid-resistant E. faecium (n = 6) and E. faecalis (n = 10) harboring the optrA gene isolated from samples of supermarket broiler meat (n = 165) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The sequenced genomes were used to appraise the study isolates’ genetic relatedness, antimicrobial resistance determinants, and virulence traits. All 16 isolates carrying the optrA gene demonstrated multidrug-resistance profiles. Genome-based relatedness classified the isolates into five clusters that were independent of the isolate sources. The most frequently known genotype among the isolates was the sequence type ST476 among E. faecalis (50% (5/10)). The study isolates revealed five novel sequence types. Antimicrobial resistance genes (ranging from 5 to 13) were found among all isolates that conferred resistance against 6 to 11 different classes of antimicrobials. Sixteen different virulence genes were found distributed across the optrA-carrying E. faecalis isolates. The virulence genes in E. faecalis included genes encoding invasion, cell adhesion, sex pheromones, aggregation, toxins production, the formation of biofilms, immunity, antiphagocytic activity, proteases, and the production of cytolysin. This study presented the first description and in-depth genomic characterization of the optrA-gene-carrying linezolid-resistant enterococci from retail broiler meat in the UAE and the Middle East. Our results call for further monitoring of the emergence of linezolid resistance at the retail and farm levels. These findings elaborate on the importance of adopting a One Health surveillance approach involving enterococci as a prospective bacterial indicator for antimicrobial resistance spread at the human–food interface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3190
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • UAE
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • enterococci
  • poultry
  • whole-genome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science


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