A cell-free strategy for host-specific profiling of intracellular antibiotic sensitivity and resistance

Kameshwari Chengan, Charlotte Hind, Maria Stanley, Matthew E. Wand, Lakshmeesha K. Nagappa, Kevin Howland, Tanith Hanson, Rubén Martín-Escolano, Anastasios D. Tsaousis, José A. Bengoechea, J. Mark Sutton, Christopher M. Smales, Simon J. Moore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a pandemic spread across multiple infectious disease-causing microbes. To provide a host-specific tool to study antibiotic susceptibility and resistance, here we develop Klebsiella pneumoniae cell-free gene expression (CFE) systems from laboratory and clinical isolates. Using proteomics, we identify relative differences and unique proteins for these new CFE systems in comparison to an Escherichia coli MG1655 CFE model. Then we profile antimicrobial susceptibility in parallel with whole cells to quantify CFE antibiotic potency. Finally, we apply this native CFE tool to study AMR variants at a proof-of-concept level. Definably we show that RpoB H526L confers a 58-fold increase in CFE resistance to rifampicin—a genotype observed in rifampicin-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis clinical isolates. Overall, we provide a cell-free synthetic biology strategy for the profiling of antibiotic sensitivity and resistance from K. pneumoniae. While initial extract processing requires Biosafety Level 2, the CFE system is non-living, suitable for long-term storage and study in a Biosafety Level 1 lab. We anticipate the K. pneumoniae CFE bioassay is advantageous for host-specific antimicrobial testing, the characterisation of intracellular AMR variants and potentially structure-activity relationship studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Number of pages12
Journalnpj Antimicrobials and Resistance
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2023


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