Automated annotation of mobile antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria: the Multiple Antibiotic Resistance Annotator (MARA) and database

Sally R. Partridge*, Guy Tsafnat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Multiresistance in Gram-negative bacteria is often due to acquisition of several different antibiotic resistance genes, each associated with a different mobile genetic element, that tend to cluster together in complex conglomerations. Accurate, consistent annotation of resistance genes, the boundaries and fragments of mobile elements, and signatures of insertion, such as DR, facilitates comparative analysis of complex multiresistance regions and plasmids to better understand their evolution and how resistance genes spread.

Objectives: To extend the Repository of Antibiotic resistance Cassettes (RAC) web site, which includes a database of 'features', and the Attacca automatic DNA annotation system, to encompass additional resistance genes and all types of associated mobile elements.

Methods: Antibiotic resistance genes and mobile elements were added to RAC, from existing registries where possible. Attacca grammars were extended to accommodate the expanded database, to allow overlapping features to be annotated and to identify and annotate features such as composite transposons and DR.

Results: The Multiple Antibiotic Resistance Annotator (MARA) database includes antibiotic resistance genes and selected mobile elements from Gram-negative bacteria, distinguishing important variants. Sequences can be submitted to the MARA web site for annotation. A list of positions and orientations of annotated features, indicating those that are truncated, DR and potential composite transposons is provided for each sequence, as well as a diagram showing annotated features approximately to scale.

Conclusions: The MARA web site ( provides a comprehensive database for mobile antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria and accurately annotates resistance genes and associated mobile elements in submitted sequences to facilitate comparative analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-890
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Automated annotation of mobile antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria: the Multiple Antibiotic Resistance Annotator (MARA) and database'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this