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Klebsiella pneumoniae has emerged as an important cause of two distinct public health threats: multi-drug resistant (MDR) healthcare-associated infections and drug susceptible community-acquired invasive infections. These pathotypes are generally associated with two distinct subsets of K. pneumoniae lineages or 'clones' that are distinguished by the presence of acquired resistance genes and several key virulence loci. Genomic evolutionary analyses of the most notorious MDR and invasive community-associated ('hypervirulent') clones indicate differences in terms of chromosomal recombination dynamics and capsule polysaccharide diversity, but it remains unclear if these differences represent generalised trends. Here we leverage a collection of >2200 K. pneumoniae genomes to identify 28 common clones (n ≥ 10 genomes each), and perform the first genomic evolutionary comparison. Eight MDR and 6 hypervirulent clones were identified on the basis of acquired resistance and virulence gene prevalence. Chromosomal recombination, surface polysaccharide locus diversity, pan-genome, plasmid and phage dynamics were characterised and compared. The data showed that MDR clones were highly diverse, with frequent chromosomal recombination generating extensive surface polysaccharide locus diversity. Additional pan-genome diversity was driven by frequent acquisition/loss of both plasmids and phage. In contrast, chromosomal recombination was rare in the hypervirulent clones, which also showed a significant reduction in pan-genome diversity, largely driven by a reduction in plasmid diversity. Hence the data indicate that hypervirulent clones may be subject to some sort of constraint for horizontal gene transfer that does not apply to the MDR clones. Our findings are relevant for understanding the risk of emergence of individual K. pneumoniae strains carrying both virulence and acquired resistance genes, which have been increasingly reported and cause highly virulent infections that are extremely difficult to treat. Specifically, our data indicate that MDR clones pose the greatest risk, because they are more likely to acquire virulence genes than hypervirulent clones are to acquire resistance genes.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PLoS genetics
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The naturally occurring transmission of genetic information between organisms, related or unrelated, circumventing parent-to-offspring transmission. Horizontal gene transfer may occur via a variety of naturally occurring processes such as GENETIC CONJUGATION; GENETIC TRANSDUCTION; and TRANSFECTION. It may result in a change of the recipient organism's genetic composition (TRANSFORMATION, GENETIC).
The introduction of functional (usually cloned) GENES into cells. A variety of techniques and naturally occurring processes are used for the gene transfer such as cell hybridization, LIPOSOMES or microcell-mediated gene transfer, ELECTROPORATION, chromosome-mediated gene transfer, TRANSFECTION, and GENETIC TRANSDUCTION. Gene transfer may result in genetically transformed cells and individual organisms.
Tuberculosis resistant to ISONIAZID and RIFAMPIN and at least three of the six main classes of second-line drugs (AMINOGLYCOSIDES; polypeptide agents; FLUOROQUINOLONES; THIOAMIDES; CYCLOSERINE; and PARA-AMINOSALICYLIC ACID) as defined by the CDC.
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