September 22, 2019  |  

Next generation multilocus sequence typing (NGMLST) and the analytical software program MLSTEZ enable efficient, cost-effective, high-throughput, multilocus sequencing typing.

Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) has become the preferred method for genotyping many biological species, and it is especially useful for analyzing haploid eukaryotes. MLST is rigorous, reproducible, and informative, and MLST genotyping has been shown to identify major phylogenetic clades, molecular groups, or subpopulations of a species, as well as individual strains or clones. MLST molecular types often correlate with important phenotypes. Conventional MLST involves the extraction of genomic DNA and the amplification by PCR of several conserved, unlinked gene sequences from a sample of isolates of the taxon under investigation. In some cases, as few as three loci are sufficient to yield definitive results. The amplicons are sequenced, aligned, and compared by phylogenetic methods to distinguish statistically significant differences among individuals and clades. Although MLST is simpler, faster, and less expensive than whole genome sequencing, it is more costly and time-consuming than less reliable genotyping methods (e.g. amplified fragment length polymorphisms). Here, we describe a new MLST method that uses next-generation sequencing, a multiplexing protocol, and appropriate analytical software to provide accurate, rapid, and economical MLST genotyping of 96 or more isolates in single assay. We demonstrate this methodology by genotyping isolates of the well-characterized, human pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

September 22, 2019  |  

Screening and genomic characterization of filamentous hemagglutinin-deficient Bordetella pertussis.

Despite high vaccine coverage, pertussis cases in the United States have increased over the last decade. Growing evidence suggests that disease resurgence results, in part, from genetic divergence of circulating strain populations away from vaccine references. The United States employs acellular vaccines exclusively, and current Bordetella pertussis isolates are predominantly deficient in at least one immunogen, pertactin (Prn). First detected in the United States retrospectively in a 1994 isolate, the rapid spread of Prn deficiency is likely vaccine driven, raising concerns about whether other acellular vaccine immunogens experience similar pressures, as further antigenic changes could potentially threaten vaccine efficacy. We developed an electrochemiluminescent antibody capture assay to monitor the production of the acellular vaccine immunogen filamentous hemagglutinin (Fha). Screening 722 U.S. surveillance isolates collected from 2010 to 2016 identified two that were both Prn and Fha deficient. Three additional Fha-deficient laboratory strains were also identified from a historic collection of 65 isolates dating back to 1935. Whole-genome sequencing of deficient isolates revealed putative, underlying genetic changes. Only four isolates harbored mutations to known genes involved in Fha production, highlighting the complexity of its regulation. The chromosomes of two Fha-deficient isolates included unexpected structural variation that did not appear to influence Fha production. Furthermore, insertion sequence disruption of fhaB was also detected in a previously identified pertussis toxin-deficient isolate that still produced normal levels of Fha. These results demonstrate the genetic potential for additional vaccine immunogen deficiency and underscore the importance of continued surveillance of circulating B. pertussis evolution in response to vaccine pressure. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.

July 19, 2019  |  

The origin of the Haitian cholera outbreak strain.

Although cholera has been present in Latin America since 1991, it had not been epidemic in Haiti for at least 100 years. Recently, however, there has been a severe outbreak of cholera in Haiti.We used third-generation single-molecule real-time DNA sequencing to determine the genome sequences of 2 clinical Vibrio cholerae isolates from the current outbreak in Haiti, 1 strain that caused cholera in Latin America in 1991, and 2 strains isolated in South Asia in 2002 and 2008. Using primary sequence data, we compared the genomes of these 5 strains and a set of previously obtained partial genomic sequences of 23 diverse strains of V. cholerae to assess the likely origin of the cholera outbreak in Haiti.Both single-nucleotide variations and the presence and structure of hypervariable chromosomal elements indicate that there is a close relationship between the Haitian isolates and variant V. cholerae El Tor O1 strains isolated in Bangladesh in 2002 and 2008. In contrast, analysis of genomic variation of the Haitian isolates reveals a more distant relationship with circulating South American isolates.The Haitian epidemic is probably the result of the introduction, through human activity, of a V. cholerae strain from a distant geographic source. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.).

July 19, 2019  |  

New insights into dissemination and variation of the health care-associated pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii from genomic analysis.

Acinetobacter baumannii is a globally important nosocomial pathogen characterized by an increasing incidence of multidrug resistance. Routes of dissemination and gene flow among health care facilities are poorly resolved and are important for understanding the epidemiology of A. baumannii, minimizing disease transmission, and improving patient outcomes. We used whole-genome sequencing to assess diversity and genome dynamics in 49 isolates from one United States hospital system during one year from 2007 to 2008. Core single-nucleotide-variant-based phylogenetic analysis revealed multiple founder strains and multiple independent strains recovered from the same patient yet was insufficient to fully resolve strain relationships, where gene content and insertion sequence patterns added additional discriminatory power. Gene content comparisons illustrated extensive and redundant antibiotic resistance gene carriage and direct evidence of gene transfer, recombination, gene loss, and mutation. Evidence of barriers to gene flow among hospital components was not found, suggesting complex mixing of strains and a large reservoir of A. baumannii strains capable of colonizing patients.Genome sequencing was used to characterize multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii strains from one United States hospital system during a 1-year period to better understand how A. baumannii strains that cause infection are related to one another. Extensive variation in gene content was found, even among strains that were very closely related phylogenetically and epidemiologically. Several mechanisms contributed to this diversity, including transfer of mobile genetic elements, mobilization of insertion sequences, insertion sequence-mediated deletions, and genome-wide homologous recombination. Variation in gene content, however, lacked clear spatial or temporal patterns, suggesting a diverse pool of circulating strains with considerable interaction between strains and hospital locations. Widespread genetic variation among strains from the same hospital and even the same patient, particularly involving antibiotic resistance genes, reinforces the need for molecular diagnostic testing and genomic analysis to determine resistance profiles, rather than a reliance primarily on strain typing and antimicrobial resistance phenotypes for epidemiological studies.

July 19, 2019  |  

Resistance determinants and mobile genetic elements of an NDM-1-encoding Klebsiella pneumoniae strain.

Multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae are emerging as a serious infectious disease challenge. These strains can accumulate many antibiotic resistance genes though horizontal transfer of genetic elements, those for ß-lactamases being of particular concern. Some ß-lactamases are active on a broad spectrum of ß-lactams including the last-resort carbapenems. The gene for the broad-spectrum and carbapenem-active metallo-ß-lactamase NDM-1 is rapidly spreading. We present the complete genome of Klebsiella pneumoniae ATCC BAA-2146, the first U.S. isolate found to encode NDM-1, and describe its repertoire of antibiotic-resistance genes and mutations, including genes for eight ß-lactamases and 15 additional antibiotic-resistance enzymes. To elucidate the evolution of this rich repertoire, the mobile elements of the genome were characterized, including four plasmids with varying degrees of conservation and mosaicism and eleven chromosomal genomic islands. One island was identified by a novel phylogenomic approach, that further indicated the cps-lps polysaccharide synthesis locus, where operon translocation and fusion was noted. Unique plasmid segments and mosaic junctions were identified. Plasmid-borne blaCTX-M-15 was transposed recently to the chromosome by ISEcp1. None of the eleven full copies of IS26, the most frequent IS element in the genome, had the expected 8-bp direct repeat of the integration target sequence, suggesting that each copy underwent homologous recombination subsequent to its last transposition event. Comparative analysis likewise indicates IS26 as a frequent recombinational junction between plasmid ancestors, and also indicates a resolvase site. In one novel use of high-throughput sequencing, homologously recombinant subpopulations of the bacterial culture were detected. In a second novel use, circular transposition intermediates were detected for the novel insertion sequence ISKpn21 of the ISNCY family, suggesting that it uses the two-step transposition mechanism of IS3. Robust genome-based phylogeny showed that a unified Klebsiella cluster contains Enterobacter aerogenes and Raoultella, suggesting the latter genus should be abandoned.

July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative genomic analysis and virulence differences in closely related Salmonella enterica serotype Heidelberg isolates from humans, retail meats, and animals.

Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Heidelberg (S. Heidelberg) is one of the top serovars causing human salmonellosis. Recently, an antibiotic-resistant strain of this serovar was implicated in a large 2011 multistate outbreak resulting from consumption of contaminated ground turkey that involved 136 confirmed cases, with one death. In this study, we assessed the evolutionary diversity of 44 S. Heidelberg isolates using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) generated by the 454 GS FLX (Roche) platform. The isolates, including 30 with nearly indistinguishable (one band difference) Xbal pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns (JF6X01.0032, JF6X01.0058), were collected from various sources between 1982 and 2011 and included nine isolates associated with the 2011 outbreak. Additionally, we determined the complete sequence for the chromosome and three plasmids from a clinical isolate associated with the 2011 outbreak using the Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) system. Using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses, we were able to distinguish highly clonal isolates, including strains isolated at different times in the same year. The isolates from the recent 2011 outbreak clustered together with a mean SNP variation of only 17 SNPs. The S. Heidelberg isolates carried a variety of phages, such as prophage P22, P4, lambda-like prophage Gifsy-2, and the P2-like phage which carries the sopE1 gene, virulence genes including 62 pathogenicity, and 13 fimbrial markers and resistance plasmids of the incompatibility (Inc)I1, IncA/C, and IncHI2 groups. Twenty-one strains contained an IncX plasmid carrying a type IV secretion system. On the basis of the recent and historical isolates used in this study, our results demonstrated that, in addition to providing detailed genetic information for the isolates, WGS can identify SNP targets that can be utilized for differentiating highly clonal S. Heidelberg isolates.

July 19, 2019  |  

Evolutionary dynamics of Vibrio cholerae O1 following a single-source introduction to Haiti.

Prior to the epidemic that emerged in Haiti in October of 2010, cholera had not been documented in this country. After its introduction, a strain of Vibrio cholerae O1 spread rapidly throughout Haiti, where it caused over 600,000 cases of disease and >7,500 deaths in the first two years of the epidemic. We applied whole-genome sequencing to a temporal series of V. cholerae isolates from Haiti to gain insight into the mode and tempo of evolution in this isolated population of V. cholerae O1. Phylogenetic and Bayesian analyses supported the hypothesis that all isolates in the sample set diverged from a common ancestor within a time frame that is consistent with epidemiological observations. A pangenome analysis showed nearly homogeneous genomic content, with no evidence of gene acquisition among Haiti isolates. Nine nearly closed genomes assembled from continuous-long-read data showed evidence of genome rearrangements and supported the observation of no gene acquisition among isolates. Thus, intrinsic mutational processes can account for virtually all of the observed genetic polymorphism, with no demonstrable contribution from horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Consistent with this, the 12 Haiti isolates tested by laboratory HGT assays were severely impaired for transformation, although unlike previously characterized noncompetent V. cholerae isolates, each expressed hapR and possessed a functional quorum-sensing system. Continued monitoring of V. cholerae in Haiti will illuminate the processes influencing the origin and fate of genome variants, which will facilitate interpretation of genetic variation in future epidemics.Vibrio cholerae is the cause of substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide, with over three million cases of disease each year. An understanding of the mode and rate of evolutionary change is critical for proper interpretation of genome sequence data and attribution of outbreak sources. The Haiti epidemic provides an unprecedented opportunity to study an isolated, single-source outbreak of Vibrio cholerae O1 over an established time frame. By using multiple approaches to assay genetic variation, we found no evidence that the Haiti strain has acquired any genes by horizontal gene transfer, an observation that led us to discover that it is also poorly transformable. We have found no evidence that environmental strains have played a role in the evolution of the outbreak strain.

July 19, 2019  |  

Inhibitors of the tick-borne, hemorrhagic fever-associated flaviviruses.

No antiviral therapies are available for the tick-borne flaviviruses associated with hemorrhagic fevers: Kyasanur Forest disease virus (KFDV), both classical and the Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever virus (AHFV) subtype, and Omsk hemorrhagic fever virus (OHFV). We tested compounds reported to have antiviral activity against members of the Flaviviridae family for their ability to inhibit AHFV replication. 6-Azauridine (6-azaU), 2′-C-methylcytidine (2′-CMC), and interferon alpha 2a (IFN-a2a) inhibited the replication of AHFV and also KFDV, OHFV, and Powassan virus. The combination of IFN-a2a and 2′-CMC exerted an additive antiviral effect on AHFV, and the combination of IFN-a2a and 6-azaU was moderately synergistic. The combination of 2′-CMC and 6-azaU was complex, being strongly synergistic but with a moderate level of antagonism. The antiviral activity of 6-azaU was reduced by the addition of cytidine but not guanosine, suggesting that it acted by inhibiting pyrimidine biosynthesis. To investigate the mechanism of action of 2′-CMC, AHFV variants with reduced susceptibility to 2′-CMC were selected. We used a replicon system to assess the substitutions present in the selected AHFV population. A double NS5 mutant, S603T/C666S, and a triple mutant, S603T/C666S/M644V, were more resistant to 2′-CMC than the wild-type replicon. The S603T/C666S mutant had a reduced level of replication which was increased when M644V was also present, although the replication of this triple mutant was still below that of the wild type. The S603 and C666 residues were predicted to lie in the active site of the AHFV NS5 polymerase, implicating the catalytic center of the enzyme as the binding site for 2′-CMC. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

Population structure of KPC-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates from midwestern U.S. hospitals.

Genome sequencing of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates from regional U.S. hospitals was used to characterize strain diversity and the bla(KPC) genetic context. A phylogeny based on core single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) supports a division of sequence type 258 (ST258) into two distinct groups. The primary differences between the groups are in the capsular polysaccharide locus (cps) and their plasmid contents. A strict association between clade and KPC variant was found. The bla(KPC) gene was found on variants of two plasmid backbones. This study indicates that highly similar K. pneumoniae subpopulations coexist within the same hospitals over time. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

Genome modification in Enterococcus faecalis OG1RF assessed by bisulfite sequencing and Single-Molecule Real-Time Sequencing.

Enterococcus faecalis is a Gram-positive bacterium that natively colonizes the human gastrointestinal tract and opportunistically causes life-threatening infections. Multidrug-resistant (MDR) E. faecalis strains have emerged, reducing treatment options for these infections. MDR E. faecalis strains have large genomes containing mobile genetic elements (MGEs) that harbor genes for antibiotic resistance and virulence determinants. Bacteria commonly possess genome defense mechanisms to block MGE acquisition, and we hypothesize that these mechanisms have been compromised in MDR E. faecalis. In restriction-modification (R-M) defense, the bacterial genome is methylated at cytosine (C) or adenine (A) residues by a methyltransferase (MTase), such that nonself DNA can be distinguished from self DNA. A cognate restriction endonuclease digests improperly modified nonself DNA. Little is known about R-M in E. faecalis. Here, we use genome resequencing to identify DNA modifications occurring in the oral isolate OG1RF. OG1RF has one of the smallest E. faecalis genomes sequenced to date and possesses few MGEs. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) and bisulfite sequencing revealed that OG1RF has global 5-methylcytosine (m5C) methylation at 5′-GCWGC-3′ motifs. A type II R-M system confers the m5C modification, and disruption of this system impacts OG1RF electrotransformability and conjugative transfer of an antibiotic resistance plasmid. A second DNA MTase was poorly expressed under laboratory conditions but conferred global N(4)-methylcytosine (m4C) methylation at 5′-CCGG-3′ motifs when expressed in Escherichia coli. Based on our results, we conclude that R-M can act as a barrier to MGE acquisition and likely influences antibiotic resistance gene dissemination in the E. faecalis species.The horizontal transfer of antibiotic resistance genes among bacteria is a critical public health concern. Enterococcus faecalis is an opportunistic pathogen that causes life-threatening infections in humans. Multidrug resistance acquired by horizontal gene transfer limits treatment options for these infections. In this study, we used innovative DNA sequencing methodologies to investigate how a model strain of E. faecalis discriminates its own DNA from foreign DNA, i.e., self versus nonself discrimination. We also assess the role of an E. faecalis genome modification system in modulating conjugative transfer of an antibiotic resistance plasmid. These results are significant because they demonstrate that differential genome modification impacts horizontal gene transfer frequencies in E. faecalis. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

Parallel epidemics of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus USA300 infection in North and South America.

The community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) epidemic in the United States is attributed to the spread of the USA300 clone. An epidemic of CA-MRSA closely related to USA300 has occurred in northern South America (USA300 Latin-American variant, USA300-LV). Using phylogenomic analysis, we aimed to understand the relationships between these 2 epidemics.We sequenced the genomes of 51 MRSA clinical isolates collected between 1999 and 2012 from the United States, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Phylogenetic analysis was used to infer the relationships and times since the divergence of the major clades.Phylogenetic analyses revealed 2 dominant clades that segregated by geographical region, had a putative common ancestor in 1975, and originated in 1989, in North America, and in 1985, in South America. Emergence of these parallel epidemics coincides with the independent acquisition of the arginine catabolic mobile element (ACME) in North American isolates and a novel copper and mercury resistance (COMER) mobile element in South American isolates.Our results reveal the existence of 2 parallel USA300 epidemics that shared a recent common ancestor. The simultaneous rapid dissemination of these 2 epidemic clades suggests the presence of shared, potentially convergent adaptations that enhance fitness and ability to spread.© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:

July 19, 2019  |  

The establishment and diversification of epidemic-associated serogroup W meningococcus in the African meningitis belt, 1994 to 2012.

Epidemics of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) caused by meningococcal serogroup A have been eliminated from the sub-Saharan African so-called “meningitis belt” by the meningococcal A conjugate vaccine (MACV), and yet, other serogroups continue to cause epidemics. Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W remains a major cause of disease in the region, with most isolates belonging to clonal complex 11 (CC11). Here, the genetic variation within and between epidemic-associated strains was assessed by sequencing the genomes of 92 N. meningitidis serogroup W isolates collected between 1994 and 2012 from both sporadic and epidemic IMD cases, 85 being from selected meningitis belt countries. The sequenced isolates belonged to either CC175 (n = 9) or CC11 (n = 83). The CC11 N. meningitidis serogroup W isolates belonged to a single lineage comprising four major phylogenetic subclades. Separate CC11 N. meningitidis serogroup W subclades were associated with the 2002 and 2012 Burkina Faso epidemics. The subclade associated with the 2012 epidemic included isolates found in Burkina Faso and Mali during 2011 and 2012, which descended from a strain very similar to the Hajj (Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca)-related Saudi Arabian outbreak strain from 2000. The phylogeny of isolates from 2012 reflected their geographic origin within Burkina Faso, with isolates from the Malian border region being closely related to the isolates from Mali. Evidence of ongoing evolution, international transmission, and strain replacement stresses the importance of maintaining N. meningitidis surveillance in Africa following the MACV implementation. IMPORTANCE Meningococcal disease (meningitis and bloodstream infections) threatens millions of people across the meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa. A vaccine introduced in 2010 protects against Africa’s then-most common cause of meningococcal disease, N. meningitidis serogroup A. However, other serogroups continue to cause epidemics in the region-including serogroup W. The rapid identification of strains that have been associated with prior outbreaks can improve the assessment of outbreak risk and enable timely preparation of public health responses, including vaccination. Phylogenetic analysis of newly sequenced serogroup W strains isolated from 1994 to 2012 identified two groups of strains linked to large epidemics in Burkina Faso, one being descended from a strain that caused an outbreak during the Hajj pilgrimage in 2000. We find that applying whole-genome sequencing to meningococcal disease surveillance collections improves the discrimination among strains, even within a single nation-wide epidemic, which can be used to better understand pathogen spread.

July 19, 2019  |  

Chromosomal integration of the Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase gene, blaKPC, in Klebsiella species is elusive but not rare.

Carbapenemase genes in Enterobacteriaceae are mostly described as being plasmid associated. However, the genetic context of carbapenemase genes is not always confirmed in epidemiological surveys, and the frequency of their chromosomal integration therefore is unknown. A previously sequenced collection of blaKPC-positive Enterobacteriaceae from a single U.S. institution (2007 to 2012; n = 281 isolates from 182 patients) was analyzed to identify chromosomal insertions of Tn4401, the transposon most frequently harboring blaKPC Using a combination of short- and long-read sequencing, we confirmed five independent chromosomal integration events from 6/182 (3%) patients, corresponding to 15/281 (5%) isolates. Three patients had isolates identified by perirectal screening, and three had infections which were all successfully treated. When a single copy of blaKPC was in the chromosome, one or both of the phenotypic carbapenemase tests were negative. All chromosomally integrated blaKPC genes were from Klebsiella spp., predominantly K. pneumoniae clonal group 258 (CG258), even though these represented only a small proportion of the isolates. Integration occurred via IS15-?I-mediated transposition of a larger, composite region encompassing Tn4401 at one locus of chromosomal integration, seen in the same strain (K. pneumoniae ST340) in two patients. In summary, we identified five independent chromosomal integrations of blaKPC in a large outbreak, demonstrating that this is not a rare event. blaKPC was more frequently integrated into the chromosome of epidemic CG258 K. pneumoniae lineages (ST11, ST258, and ST340) and was more difficult to detect by routine phenotypic methods in this context. The presence of chromosomally integrated blaKPC within successful, globally disseminated K. pneumoniae strains therefore is likely underestimated. Copyright © 2017 Mathers et al.

July 19, 2019  |  

The history of Bordetella pertussis genome evolution includes structural rearrangement.

Despite high pertussis vaccine coverage, reported cases of whooping cough (pertussis) have increased over the last decade in the United States and other developed countries. Although Bordetella pertussis is well known for its limited gene sequence variation, recent advances in long-read sequencing technology have begun to reveal genomic structural heterogeneity among otherwise indistinguishable isolates, even within geographically or temporally defined epidemics. We have compared rearrangements among complete genome assemblies from 257 B. pertussis isolates to examine the potential evolution of the chromosomal structure in a pathogen with minimal gene nucleotide sequence diversity. Discrete changes in gene order were identified that differentiated genomes from vaccine reference strains and clinical isolates of various genotypes, frequently along phylogenetic boundaries defined by single nucleotide polymorphisms. The observed rearrangements were primarily large inversions centered on the replication origin or terminus and flanked by IS481, a mobile genetic element with >240 copies per genome and previously suspected to mediate rearrangements and deletions by homologous recombination. These data illustrate that structural genome evolution in B. pertussis is not limited to reduction but also includes rearrangement. Therefore, although genomes of clinical isolates are structurally diverse, specific changes in gene order are conserved, perhaps due to positive selection, providing novel information for investigating disease resurgence and molecular epidemiology.IMPORTANCE Whooping cough, primarily caused by Bordetella pertussis, has resurged in the United States even though the coverage with pertussis-containing vaccines remains high. The rise in reported cases has included increased disease rates among all vaccinated age groups, provoking questions about the pathogen’s evolution. The chromosome of B. pertussis includes a large number of repetitive mobile genetic elements that obstruct genome analysis. However, these mobile elements facilitate large rearrangements that alter the order and orientation of essential protein-encoding genes, which otherwise exhibit little nucleotide sequence diversity. By comparing the complete genome assemblies from 257 isolates, we show that specific rearrangements have been conserved throughout recent evolutionary history, perhaps by eliciting changes in gene expression, which may also provide useful information for molecular epidemiology. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.

July 7, 2019  |  

Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing K. pneumoniae at a single institution: insights into endemicity from whole-genome sequencing.

The global emergence of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase-producing K. pneumoniae (KPC-Kp) multilocus sequence type ST258 is widely recognized. Less is known about the molecular and epidemiological details of non-ST258 K. pneumoniae in the setting of an outbreak mediated by an endemic plasmid. We describe the interplay of blaKPC plasmids and K. pneumoniae strains and their relationship to the location of acquisition in a U.S. health care institution. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis was applied to KPC-Kp clinical isolates collected from a single institution over 5 years following the introduction of blaKPC in August 2007, as well as two plasmid transformants. KPC-Kp from 37 patients yielded 16 distinct sequence types (STs). Two novel conjugative blaKPC plasmids (pKPC_UVA01 and pKPC_UVA02), carried by the hospital index case, accounted for the presence of blaKPC in 21/37 (57%) subsequent cases. Thirteen (35%) isolates represented an emergent lineage, ST941, which contained pKPC_UVA01 in 5/13 (38%) and pKPC_UVA02 in 6/13 (46%) cases. Seven (19%) isolates were the epidemic KPC-Kp strain, ST258, mostly imported from elsewhere and not carrying pKPC_UVA01 or pKPC_UVA02. Using WGS-based analysis of clinical isolates and plasmid transformants, we demonstrate the unexpected dispersal of blaKPC to many non-ST258 lineages in a hospital through spread of at least two novel blaKPC plasmids. In contrast, ST258 KPC-Kp was imported into the institution on numerous occasions, with other blaKPC plasmid vectors and without sustained transmission. Instead, a newly recognized KPC-Kp strain, ST941, became associated with both novel blaKPC plasmids and spread locally, making it a future candidate for clinical persistence and dissemination. Copyright © 2015, Mathers et al.

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