Diversity, virulence, and antimicrobial resistance in isolates from the newly emerging klebsiella pneumoniaeST101 Lineage

Chandler C. Roe, Adam J. Vazquez, Eliana Pia Esposito, R. Zarrilli, Jason W. Sahl

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63 Scopus citations


The global dissemination of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) has been largely attributed to a few high-risk sequence types (STs) (ST258, ST11, ST512) associated with human disease. ST101 is an emerging clone that has been identified in different parts of the world with the potential to become a global, persistent public health threat. Recent research suggests the ST101 lineage is associated with an 11% increase in mortality rate in comparison to non-ST101 infections. In this study, we generated a high-quality, near-finished genome assembly of a multidrug-resistant (MDR) isolate from Italy (isolate 4743) that is a single locus variant of ST101 (ST1685). We demonstrate that the 4743 genome contains virulence features such as an integrative conjugative element carrying the yersiniabactin siderophore (ICEKp3), the mannose-resistant Klebsiella-like (type III) fimbriae cluster (mrkABCDFHIJ), the ferric uptake system (kfuABC), the yersiniabactin receptor gene fyuA, a capsular K type K17, and an O antigen type of O1. K. pneumoniae 4743 carries the blaKPC-2 carbapenemase gene along with genes conferring resistance to aminoglycosides, beta-lactams, fluoroquinolones, fosfomycin, macrolides, lincosamides, and streptogramin B. A comparative genomics analysis of 44 ST101 genomes as well as newly sequenced isolate 4743 identified variable antimicrobial resistance (AMR) resistance profiles and incompatibility plasmid types, but similar virulence factor profiles. Using Bayesian methodologies, we estimate the common ancestor for the ST101 lineage emerged in 1990 (95% HPD: 1965 to 2007) and isolates within the lineage acquired blaKPC after the divergence from its parental clonal group and dissemination. The identification of virulence factors and antibiotic resistance genes acquired by this newly emerging clone provides insight into the reported increased mortality rates and highlights its potential success as a persistent nosocomial pathogen. With a combination of both colistin resistance, carbapenem resistance, and several known virulence factors, the ST101 genetic repertoire may be a "perfect storm" allowing for a newly emerging, high-risk, extensively antibiotic resistant clone. This high-risk clone appears adept at acquiring resistance and may perpetuate the dissemination of extensive antimicrobial resistance. Greater focus on the acquisition of virulence factors and antibiotic resistance genes is crucial for understanding the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number542
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 2019


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Genomics
  • Klebsiella
  • Phylogenetics
  • ST101

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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