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Multi-drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection is a significant public health risk. Rapidly detecting N. gonorrhoeae and antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) determinants by metagenomic sequencing of urine is possible, although high levels of host DNA and overgrowth of contaminating species hamper sequencing and limit N. gonorrhoeae genome coverage. We performed Nanopore sequencing of nucleic acid amplification test-positive urine samples and culture-positive urethral swabs with and without probe-based target enrichment, using a custom SureSelect panel, to investigate whether selective enrichment of N. gonorrhoeae DNA improves detection of both species and AMR determinants. Probes were designed to cover the entire N. gonorrhoeae genome, with tenfold enrichment of probes covering selected AMR determinants. Multiplexing was tested in a subset of samples. The proportion of sequence bases classified as N. gonorrhoeae increased in all samples after enrichment, from a median (IQR) of 0.05 % (0.01–0.1 %) to 76 % (42–82 %), giving a corresponding median improvement in fold genome coverage of 365 times (112–720). Over 20-fold coverage, required for robust AMR determinant detection, was achieved in 13/15(87 %) samples, compared to 2/15(13 %) without enrichment. The four samples multiplexed together also achieved >20-fold genome coverage. Coverage of AMR determinants was sufficient to predict resistance conferred by changes in chromosomal genes, where present, and genome coverage also enabled phylogenetic relationships to be reconstructed. Probe-based target enrichment can improve N. gonorrhoeae genome coverage when sequencing DNA extracts directly from urine or urethral swabs, allowing for detection of AMR determinants. Additionally, multiplexing prior to enrichment provided enough genome coverage for AMR detection and reduces the costs associated with this method.

Original publication




Journal article


Microbial Genomics


Microbiology Society

Publication Date