HT-ARGfinder: A Comprehensive Pipeline for Identifying Horizontally Transferred Antibiotic Resistance Genes and Directionality in Metagenomic Sequencing Data
Antibiotic resistance is a continually rising threat to global health. A primary driver of the evolution of new strains of resistant pathogens is the horizontal gene transfer (HGT) of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). However, identifying and quantifying ARGs subject to HGT remains a significant challenge. Here, we introduce HT-ARGfinder (horizontally transferred ARG finder), a pipeline that detects and enumerates horizontally transferred ARGs in metagenomic data while also estimating the directionality of transfer. To demonstrate the pipeline, we applied it to an array of publicly-available wastewater metagenomes, including hospital sewage. We compare the horizontally transferred ARGs detected across various sample types and estimate their directionality of transfer among donors and recipients. This study introduces a comprehensive tool to track mobile ARGs in wastewater and other aquatic environments.