Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications

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    Population genomics of hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae clonal-group 23 reveals early emergence and rapid global dissemination
    Lam, MMC ; Wyres, KL ; Duchene, S ; Wick, RR ; Judd, LM ; Gan, Y-H ; Hoh, C-H ; Archuleta, S ; Molton, JS ; Kalimuddin, S ; Koh, TH ; Passet, V ; Brisse, S ; Holt, KE (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018-07-13)
    Severe liver abscess infections caused by hypervirulent clonal-group CG23 Klebsiella pneumoniae have been increasingly reported since the mid-1980s. Strains typically possess several virulence factors including an integrative, conjugative element ICEKp encoding the siderophore yersiniabactin and genotoxin colibactin. Here we investigate CG23's evolutionary history, showing several deep-branching sublineages associated with distinct ICEKp acquisitions. Over 80% of liver abscess isolates belong to sublineage CG23-I, which emerged in ~1928 following acquisition of ICEKp10 (encoding yersiniabactin and colibactin), and then disseminated globally within the human population. CG23-I's distinguishing feature is the colibactin synthesis locus, which reportedly promotes gut colonisation and metastatic infection in murine models. These data show circulation of CG23 K. pneumoniae decades before the liver abscess epidemic was first recognised, and provide a framework for future epidemiological and experimental studies of hypervirulent K. pneumoniae. To support such studies we present an open access, completely sequenced CG23-I human liver abscess isolate, SGH10.
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    Antimicrobial-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae Carriage and Infection in Specialized Geriatric Care Wards Linked to Acquisition in the Referring Hospital
    Gorrie, CL ; Mirceta, M ; Wick, RR ; Judd, LM ; Wyres, KL ; Thomson, NR ; Strugnell, RA ; Pratt, NF ; Garlick, JS ; Watson, KM ; Hunter, PC ; McGloughlin, SA ; Spelman, DW ; Jenney, AWJ ; Holt, KE (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2018-07-15)
    Background: Klebsiella pneumoniae is a leading cause of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing hospital-associated infections, for which elderly patients are at increased risk. Methods: We conducted a 1-year prospective cohort study, in which a third of patients admitted to 2 geriatric wards in a specialized hospital were recruited and screened for carriage of K. pneumoniae by microbiological culture. Clinical isolates were monitored via the hospital laboratory. Colonizing and clinical isolates were subjected to whole-genome sequencing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Results: K. pneumoniae throat carriage prevalence was 4.1%, rectal carriage 10.8%, and ESBL carriage 1.7%, and the incidence of K. pneumoniae infection was 1.2%. The isolates were diverse, and most patients were colonized or infected with a unique phylogenetic lineage, with no evidence of transmission in the wards. ESBL strains carried blaCTX-M-15 and belonged to clones associated with hospital-acquired ESBL infections in other countries (sequence type [ST] 29, ST323, and ST340). One also carried the carbapenemase blaIMP-26. Genomic and epidemiological data provided evidence that ESBL strains were acquired in the referring hospital. Nanopore sequencing also identified strain-to-strain transmission of a blaCTX-M-15 FIBK/FIIK plasmid in the referring hospital. Conclusions: The data suggest the major source of K. pneumoniae was the patient's own gut microbiome, but ESBL strains were acquired in the referring hospital. This highlights the importance of the wider hospital network to understanding K. pneumoniae risk and infection prevention. Rectal screening for ESBL organisms on admission to geriatric wards could help inform patient management and infection control in such facilities.
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    WGS Analysis and Interpretation in Clinical and Public Health Microbiology Laboratories: What Are the Requirements and How Do Existing Tools Compare?
    Wyres, KL ; Conway, TC ; Garg, S ; Queiroz, C ; Reumann, M ; Holt, K ; Rusu, LI (MDPI, 2014-06-01)
    Recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies have the potential to transform the field of clinical and public health microbiology, and in the last few years numerous case studies have demonstrated successful applications in this context. Among other considerations, a lack of user-friendly data analysis and interpretation tools has been frequently cited as a major barrier to routine use of these techniques. Here we consider the requirements of microbiology laboratories for the analysis, clinical interpretation and management of bacterial whole-genome sequence (WGS) data. Then we discuss relevant, existing WGS analysis tools. We highlight many essential and useful features that are represented among existing tools, but find that no single tool fulfils all of the necessary requirements. We conclude that to fully realise the potential of WGS analyses for clinical and public health microbiology laboratories of all scales, we will need to develop tools specifically with the needs of these laboratories in mind.
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    Extensive Capsule Locus Variation and Large-Scale Genomic Recombination within the Klebsiella pneumoniae Clonal Group 258
    Wyres, KL ; Gorrie, C ; Edwards, DJ ; Wertheim, HFL ; Hsu, LY ; Nguyen, VK ; Zadoks, R ; Baker, S ; Holt, KE (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2015-05-01)
    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 that capsular variation was limited within this clone; only two distinct ST258 capsule polysaccharide synthesis (cps) loci have been identified, both acquired through large-scale recombination events (>50 kb). 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 intraclone 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 harbor KPC). As only the second report of extensive intraclonal 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.
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    The diversity of Klebsiella pneumoniae surface polysaccharides
    Follador, R ; Heinz, E ; Wyres, KL ; Ellington, MJ ; Kowarik, M ; Holt, KE ; Thomson, NR (MICROBIOLOGY SOC, 2016-08-01)
    Klebsiella pneumoniae is considered an urgent health concern due to the emergence of multi-drug-resistant strains for which vaccination offers a potential remedy. Vaccines based on surface polysaccharides are highly promising but need to address the high diversity of surface-exposed polysaccharides, synthesized as O-antigens (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) and K-antigens (capsule polysaccharide, CPS), present in K. pneumoniae. We present a comprehensive and clinically relevant study of the diversity of O- and K-antigen biosynthesis gene clusters across a global collection of over 500 K. pneumoniae whole-genome sequences and the seroepidemiology of human isolates from different infection types. Our study defines the genetic diversity of O- and K-antigen biosynthesis cluster sequences across this collection, identifying sequences for known serotypes as well as identifying novel LPS and CPS gene clusters found in circulating contemporary isolates. Serotypes O1, O2 and O3 were most prevalent in our sample set, accounting for approximately 80 % of all infections. In contrast, K serotypes showed an order of magnitude higher diversity and differ among infection types. In addition we investigated a potential association of O or K serotypes with phylogenetic lineage, infection type and the presence of known virulence genes. K1 and K2 serotypes, which are associated with hypervirulent K. pneumoniae, were associated with a higher abundance of virulence genes and more diverse O serotypes compared to other common K serotypes.
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    Differential host susceptibility and bacterial virulence factors driving Klebsiella liver abscess in an ethnically diverse population
    Lee, IR ; Molton, JS ; Wyres, KL ; Gorrie, C ; Wong, J ; Hoh, CH ; Teo, J ; Kalimuddin, S ; Lye, DC ; Archuleta, S ; Holt, KE ; Gan, Y-H (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-07-13)
    Hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae is an emerging cause of community-acquired pyogenic liver abscess. First described in Asia, it is now increasingly recognized in Western countries, commonly afflicting those with Asian descent. This raises the question of genetic predisposition versus geospecific strain acquisition. We leveraged on the Antibiotics for Klebsiella Liver Abscess Syndrome Study (A-KLASS) clinical trial ongoing in ethnically diverse Singapore, to prospectively examine the profiles of 70 patients together with their isolates' genotypic and phenotypic characteristics. The majority of isolates belonged to capsule type K1, a genetically homogenous group corresponding to sequence-type 23. The remaining K2, K5, K16, K28, K57 and K63 isolates as well as two novel cps isolates were genetically heterogeneous. K1 isolates carried higher frequencies of virulence-associated genes including rmpA (regulator of mucoid phenotype A), kfu (Klebsiella ferric uptake transporter), iuc (aerobactin), iro (salmochelin) and irp (yersiniabactin) than non-K1 isolates. The Chinese in our patient cohort, mostly non-diabetic, had higher prevalence of K1 infection than the predominantly diabetic non-Chinese (Malays, Indian and Caucasian). This differential susceptibility to different capsule types among the various ethnic groups suggests patterns of transmission (e.g. environmental source, familial transmission) and/or genetic predisposition unique to each race despite being in the same geographical location.
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    Kaptive Web: User-Friendly Capsule and Lipopolysaccharide Serotype Prediction for Klebsiella Genomes
    Wick, RR ; Heinz, E ; Holt, KE ; Wyres, KL ; Diekema, DJ (AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2018-06-01)
    As whole-genome sequencing becomes an established component of the microbiologist's toolbox, it is imperative that researchers, clinical microbiologists, and public health professionals have access to genomic analysis tools for the rapid extraction of epidemiologically and clinically relevant information. For the Gram-negative hospital pathogens such as Klebsiella pneumoniae, initial efforts have focused on the detection and surveillance of antimicrobial resistance genes and clones. However, with the resurgence of interest in alternative infection control strategies targeting Klebsiella surface polysaccharides, the ability to extract information about these antigens is increasingly important. Here we present Kaptive Web, an online tool for the rapid typing of Klebsiella K and O loci, which encode the polysaccharide capsule and lipopolysaccharide O antigen, respectively. Kaptive Web enables users to upload and analyze genome assemblies in a web browser. The results can be downloaded in tabular format or explored in detail via the graphical interface, making it accessible for users at all levels of computational expertise. We demonstrate Kaptive Web's utility by analyzing >500 K. pneumoniae genomes. We identify extensive K and O locus diversity among 201 genomes belonging to the carbapenemase-associated clonal group 258 (25 K and 6 O loci). The characterization of a further 309 genomes indicated that such diversity is common among the multidrug-resistant clones and that these loci represent useful epidemiological markers for strain subtyping. These findings reinforce the need for rapid, reliable, and accessible typing methods such as Kaptive Web. Kaptive Web is available for use at http://kaptive.holtlab.net/, and the source code is available at https://github.com/kelwyres/Kaptive-Web.
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    Emergence and rapid global dissemination of CTX-M-15-associated Klebsiella pneumoniae strain ST307
    Wyres, KL ; Hawkey, J ; Hetland, MAK ; Fostervold, A ; Wick, RR ; Judd, LM ; Hamidian, M ; Howden, BP ; Lohr, IH ; Holt, KE (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2019-03-01)
    OBJECTIVES: Recent reports indicate the emergence of a new carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae clone, ST307. We sought to better understand the global epidemiology and evolution of this clone and evaluate its association with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes. METHODS: We collated information from the literature and public databases and performed a comparative analysis of 95 ST307 genomes (including 37 that were newly sequenced). RESULTS: We show that ST307 emerged in the mid-1990s (nearly 20 years prior to its first report), is already globally distributed and is intimately associated with a conserved plasmid harbouring the blaCTX-M-15 ESBL gene and several other AMR determinants. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the need for enhanced surveillance of this widespread ESBL clone in which carbapenem resistance has occasionally emerged.
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    Tracking key virulence loci encoding aerobactin and salmochelin siderophore synthesis in Klebsiella pneumoniae
    Lam, MMC ; Wyres, K ; Judd, L ; Wick, R ; Jenney, A ; Brisse, S ; Holt, K (BMC, 2018-07-25)
    Background: Klebsiella pneumoniae is a recognised agent of multidrug-resistant (MDR) healthcare-associated infections, however individual strains vary in their virulence potential due to the presence of mobile accessory genes. In particular, gene clusters encoding the biosynthesis of siderophores aerobactin (iuc) and salmochelin (iro) are associated with invasive disease and are common amongst hypervirulent K. pneumoniae clones that cause severe community-associated infections such as liver abscess and pneumonia. Concerningly iuc has also been reported in MDR strains in the hospital setting, where it was associated with increased mortality, highlighting the need to understand, detect and track the mobility of these virulence loci in the K. pneumoniae population. Methods: Here we examined the genetic diversity, distribution and mobilisation of iuc and iro loci among 2503 K. pneumoniae genomes using comparative genomics approaches, and developed tools for tracking them via genomic surveillance. Results: Iro and iuc were detected at low prevalence (<10%). Considerable genetic diversity was observed, resolving into five iro and six iuc lineages that show distinct patterns of mobilisation and dissemination in the K. pneumoniae population. The major burden of iuc and iro amongst the genomes analysed was due to two linked lineages (iuc1/iro1, 74% and iuc2/iro2, 14%), each carried by a distinct non-self-transmissible IncFIBK virulence plasmid type that we designate KpVP-1 and KpVP-2. These dominant types also carry hypermucoidy (rmpA) determinants and include all previously described virulence plasmids of K. pneumoniae. The other iuc and iro lineages were associated with diverse plasmids, including some carrying FII conjugative transfer regions and some imported from E. coli; the exceptions were iro3 (mobilised by ICEKp1), and iuc4 (fixed in the chromosome of K. pneumoniae subspecies rhinoscleromatis). Iro/iuc MGEs appear to be stably maintained at high frequency within known hypervirulent strains (ST23, ST86, etc), but were also detected at low prevalence in others such as MDR strain ST258. Conclusions: Iuc and iro are mobilised in K. pneumoniae via a limited number of MGEs. This study provides a framework for identifying and tracking these important virulence loci, which will be important for genomic surveillance efforts including monitoring for the emergence of hypervirulent MDR K. pneumoniae strains.