Extensive capsule locus variation and large-scale genomic recombination within the Klebsiella pneumoniae clonal group 258.

Wyres, KL; Gorrie, C; Edwards, DJ; Wertheim, HF; Hsu, LY; Van Kinh, N; Zadoks, R; Baker, S; Holt, KE; (2015) Extensive capsule locus variation and large-scale genomic recombination within the Klebsiella pneumoniae clonal group 258. Genome Biol Evol. ISSN 1759-6653 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evv062

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Klebsiella pneumoniae clonal group (CG) 258, comprising sequence types (STs) 258, 11 and closely related variants, is associated with dissemination of the K. pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC). Hospital outbreaks of KPC CG258 infections have been observed globally and are very difficult to treat. As a consequence there is renewed interest in alternative infection control measures such as vaccines and phage or depolymerase treatments targeting the K pneumoniae polysaccharide capsule. To date, 78 immunologically distinct capsule variants have been described in K. pneumoniae. Previous investigations of ST258 and a small number of closely related strains suggested capsular variation was limited within this clone; only two distinct ST258 capsular synthesis (cps) loci have been identified, both acquired through large-scale recombination events (>50 kbp). In contrast to previous studies, we report a comparative genomic analysis of the broader K. pneumoniae CG258 (n = 39). We identified 11 different cps loci within CG258, indicating that capsular switching is actually common within the complex. We observed several insertion sequences (IS) within the cps loci, and show further intra-clone diversification of two cps loci through IS activity. Our data also indicate that several large-scale recombination events have shaped the genomes of CG258, and that definition of the complex should be broadened to include ST395 (also reported to harbour KPC). As only the second report of extensive intra-clonal cps variation among Gram negative bacterial species, our findings alter our understanding of the evolution of these organisms and have key implications for the design of control measures targeting K. pneumoniae capsules.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Pathogen Molecular Biology
PubMed ID: 25861820
Web of Science ID: 356228800007
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2159786


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