Yersiniabactin, Colibactin and Wider Resistome Contribute to Enhanced Virulence and Persistence of KPC-2-Producing Klebsiella pneumoniae CG258 in South America

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Author Name

Louise T Cerdeira

Fernanda Esposito

Margaret M Lam

Kelly L. Wyres

Ryan R. Wick

Louise M. Judd

Marcos V Cunha

Terezinha Knöbl

Bruna F. Araújo

Rosineide M Ribas

Sebastian Cifuentes

Jesus Tamariz

Maria F. C. Bueno

Gabriela R Francisco

Doroti O Garcia

Gerardo Gonzalez-Rocha

Gabriel Gutkind

Kathryn E Holt


Nilton Lincopan

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The emergence and dissemination of carbapenem-resistant hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (CR-hvKp) is a worrisome public health issue compromising the treatment and outcome of infections caused by this pathogen. We performed a detailed virulome and resistome analysis of representative KPC- and/or CTX-M-producing K. pneumoniae belonging to clonal group (CG) 258 (sequence types ST11, ST258, ST340, ST437), circulating in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru; with further evaluation of the virulence behavior using the Galleria mellonella infection model. Genomic analysis of K. pneumoniae strains recovered from the human-animal-environment interface revealed a wide resistome characterized by the presence of genes and mutations conferring resistance to human and veterinary antibiotics, quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) and heavy metals. Plasmid Inc typing revealed the presence of a wide diversity of replicon types with IncF, IncN, IncR and Col-like being frequently detected. Moreover, KPC-2-producing K. pneumoniae belonging to ST11 (KL-64 andKL-105) and ST340 (KL-15) carried multiple variants of distinct yersiniabactin siderophore (ybt) and/or genotoxic colibactin (clb) genes. In this regard, ICEKp3, ICEKp4 and ICEKp12 were identified in strains belonging to ST11 and ST340, recovered from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia; whereas ybt 17 and a novel ybt sequence type (YbST346) were identified together with clb in ICEKp10 structures from ST11 and ST258, from Brazil and Colombia, respectively. K. pneumoniae ST11 (ICEKp10/YbST346 and ICEKp4/ybt 10) strains killed 100% of wax moth larvae, in a similar way to hypervirulent K1/ST23 strain (ybt- and clb-negative) carrying the pLVPK-like plasmid, indicating enhanced virulence. In summary, our results indicate that yersiniabactin, colibactin and an expanded resistome have contributed to enhanced virulence and persistence of KPC-2-producing K. pneumoniae CG258 in South America. Therefore, active surveillance of hospital-associated lineages of K. pneumoniae should not only focus on clonal origin and antimicrobial resistance, but also on the virulence factors ybt and clb.

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