Molecular epidemiology, sequence types, and plasmid analyses of KPC-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae strains in Israel

Azita Leavitt, Yehuda Carmeli, Inna Chmelnitsky, Moran G Goren, Itzhak Ofek, Shiri Navon-Venezia
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 2010, 54 (7): 3002-6
Sporadic isolates of carbapenem-resistant KPC-2-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae were isolated in Tel Aviv Medical Center during 2005 and 2006, parallel to the emergence of the KPC-3-producing K. pneumoniae sequence type 258 (ST 258). We aimed to study the molecular epidemiology of these isolates and to characterize their bla(KPC)-carrying plasmids and their origin. Ten isolates (8 KPC-2 and 2 KPC-3 producing) were studied. All isolates were extremely drug resistant. They possessed the bla(KPC) gene and varied in their additional beta-lactamase contents. The KPC-2-producing strains belonged to three different sequence types: ST 340 (n = 2), ST 277 (n = 2), and a novel sequence type, ST 376 (n = 4). Among KPC-3-producing strains, a single isolate (ST 327) different from ST 258 was identified, but both strains carried the same plasmid (pKpQIL). The KPC-2-encoding plasmids varied in size (45 to 95 kb) and differed among each of the STs. Two of the Klebsiella bla(KPC-2)-carrying plasmids were identical to plasmids from Escherichia coli, suggesting a common origin of these plasmids. These data indicate that KPC evolution in K. pneumoniae is related to rare events of interspecies spread of bla(KPC-2)-carrying plasmids from E. coli followed by limited clonal spread, whereas KPC-3 carriage in this species is related almost strictly to clonal expansion of ST 258 carrying pKpQIL.

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