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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 3970831, 9 pages
Research Article

Resistance of Permafrost and Modern Acinetobacter lwoffii Strains to Heavy Metals and Arsenic Revealed by Genome Analysis

1Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Kurchatov Sq. 2, Moscow 123182, Russia
2Institute of Bioengineering, Research Center of Biotechnology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky Ave. 33, Bld. 2, Moscow 119071, Russia

Received 20 April 2016; Revised 14 July 2016; Accepted 7 September 2016

Academic Editor: Peter F. Stadler

Copyright © 2016 Sofia Mindlin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We performed whole-genome sequencing of five permafrost strains of Acinetobacter lwoffii (frozen for 15–3000 thousand years) and analyzed their resistance genes found in plasmids and chromosomes. Four strains contained multiple plasmids (8–12), which varied significantly in size (from 4,135 to 287,630 bp) and genetic structure; the fifth strain contained only two plasmids. All large plasmids and some medium-size and small plasmids contained genes encoding resistance to various heavy metals, including mercury, cobalt, zinc, cadmium, copper, chromium, and arsenic compounds. Most resistance genes found in the ancient strains of A. lwoffii had their closely related counterparts in modern clinical A. lwoffii strains that were also located on plasmids. The vast majority of the chromosomal resistance determinants did not possess complete sets of the resistance genes or contained truncated genes. Comparative analysis of various A. lwoffii and of A. baumannii strains discovered a number of differences between them: (i) chromosome sizes in A. baumannii exceeded those in A. lwoffii by about 20%; (ii) on the contrary, the number of plasmids in A. lwoffii and their total size were much higher than those in A. baumannii; (iii) heavy metal resistance genes in the environmental A. lwoffii strains surpassed those in A. baumannii strains in the number and diversity and were predominantly located on plasmids. Possible reasons for these differences are discussed.