TCDD influences reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes in murine gut microbiome

Robert D. Stedtfeld, Tiffany M. Stedtfeld, Kelly A. Fader, Maggie R. Williams, Prianca Bhaduri, John Quensen, Timothy R. Zacharewski, James M. Tiedje, Syed A. Hashsham

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29 Scopus citations


Dysbiosis of the gut microbiome via antibiotics, changes in diet and infection can select for bacterial groups that more frequently harbor antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) and mobile genetic elements (MGEs). However, the impact of environmental toxicants on the reservoir of ARGs in the gut microbiome has received less attention. 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is a potent aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonist with multiple toxic health effects including immune dysfunction. The selective pressure of TCDD on the abundance of ARG and MGE-harboring gut populations was examined using C57BL/6 mice exposed to 0-30 μg/kg TCDD for 28 and 92 days with the latter having a 30-day recovery period. DNA extracted from temporally collected fecal pellets was characterized using a qPCR array with 384 assays targeting ARGs and MGEs. Fourteen genes, typically observed in Enterobacteriaceae, increased significantly within 8 days of initial dosing, persisted throughout the treatment period, and remained induced 30 days post dosing. A qPCR primer set targeting Enterobacteriaceae also showed 10- to 100-fold higher abundance in TCDD-treated groups, which was further verified using metagenomics. Results show a bloom of ARG-harboring bacterial groups in the gut due to a xenobiotic compound that is not a metal, biocide or antimicrobial.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs)
  • Dysbiosis
  • Enterobacteriaceae
  • Gut microbiome
  • Immune-suppression
  • Mobile genetic elements
  • Persistent organic pollutant
  • TCDD


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