Prevalence and abundance of antibiotic-resistant genes in culturable bacteria inhabiting a non-polar passu glacier, karakorum mountains range, Pakistan

Sabir Nawaz, Muhammad Rafiq, Ian L. Pepper, Walter Q. Betancourt, Aamer Ali Shah, Fariha Hasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Natural pristine environments including cold habitats are thought to be the potent reservoirs of antibiotic-resistant genes and have been recurrently reported in polar glaciers’ native bacteria, nevertheless, their abundance among the non-polar glaciers’ inhabitant bacteria is mostly uncharted. Herein we evaluated antibiotic resistance profile, abundance of antibiotic-resistant genes plus class 1, 2, and 3 integron integrases in 65 culturable bacterial isolates retrieved from a non-polar glacier. The 16S rRNA gene sequencing analysis identified predominantly Gram-negative 43 (66.15%) and Gram-positive 22 (33.84%) isolates. Among the Gram-negative bacteria, Gammaproteobacteria were dominant (62.79%), followed by Betaproteobacteria (18.60%) and Alphaproteobacteria (9.30%), whereas Phyla Actinobacteria (50%) and Firmicutes (40.90%) were predominant among Gram-positive. The Kirby Bauer disc diffusion method evaluated significant antibiotic resistance among the isolates. PCR amplification revealed phylum Proteobacteria predominantly carrying 21 disparate antibiotic-resistant genes like; blaAmpC 6 (100%), blaVIM-1, blaSHV and blaDHA 5 (100%) each, blaOXA-1 1 (100%), blaCMY-4 4 (100%), followed by Actinobacteria 14, Firmicutes 13 and Bacteroidetes 11. Tested isolates were negative for blaKPC, qnrA, vanA, ermA, ermB, intl2, and intl3. Predominant Gram-negative isolates had higher MAR index values, compared to Gram-positive. Alignment of protein homology sequences of antibiotic-resistant genes with references revealed amino acid variations in blaNDM-1, blaOXA-1, blaSHV, mecA, aac(6)-Ib3, tetA, tetB, sul2, qnrB, gyrA, and intI1. Promising antibiotic-resistant bacteria, harbored with numerous antibiotic-resistant genes and class 1 integron integrase with some amino acid variations detected, accentuating the mandatory focus to evaluate the intricate transcriptome analysis of glaciated bacteria conferring antibiotic resistance. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number94
JournalWorld Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Antibiotic-resistant genes
  • Glacial sediment
  • Integron integrase
  • Multiple antibiotic resistance index
  • ß-lactamase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Physiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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