The prevalence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) among clinical isolates of Escherichia coli has been increasing, with this spread driven by ESBL-encoding plasmids. However, the epidemiology of ESBL-disseminating plasmids remains understudied, obscuring the roles of individual plasmid lineages in ESBL spread. To address this, we performed an in-depth genomic investigation of 149 clinical ESBL-like E. coli isolates from a tertiary care hospital. We obtained high-quality assemblies for 446 plasmids, revealing an extensive map of plasmid sharing that crosses time, space, and bacterial sequence type boundaries. Through a sequencebased network, we identified specific plasmid lineages that are responsible for the dissemination of major ESBLs. Notably, we demonstrate that IncF plasmids separate into 2 distinct lineages that are enriched for different ESBLs and occupy distinct host ranges. Our work provides a detailed picture of plasmid-mediated spread of ESBLs, demonstrating the extensive sequence diversity within identified lineages, while highlighting the genetic elements that underlie the persistence of these plasmids within the clinical E. coli population.
- Escherichia coli
- plasmid-mediated resistance