The rise of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens can be attributed to the lack of a rapid pathogen identification (ID) or antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST), resulting in delayed therapeutic decisions at the point of care. Gonorrhea is usually empirically treated, with no AST results available before treatment, thus contributing to the rapid rise in drug resistance. Here, we present a rapid AST platform using RNA signatures for Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) followed by bioinformatic tools was applied to explore potential markers in the transcriptome profile of N. gonorrhoeae upon minutes of azithromycin exposure. Validation of candidate markers using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) showed that two markers (arsR [NGO1562] and rpsO) can deliver accurate AST results across 14 tested isolates. Further validation of our susceptibility threshold in comparison to MIC across 64 more isolates confirmed the reliability of our platform. Our RNA markers combined with emerging molecular point-of-care systems has the potential to greatly accelerate both ID and AST to inform treatment.
- Antimicrobial susceptibility testing
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae
- RNA markers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)