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Genomic and antigenic diversity of colonising Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates mirrors that of invasive isolates in Blantyre, Malawi

Lewis, Joseph ORCID:, Mphasa, Madalitso, Banda, Rachel, Beale, Matthew, Mallewa, Jane, Heinz, Eva ORCID:, Thomson, Nicholas and Feasey, Nicholas ORCID: (2022) 'Genomic and antigenic diversity of colonising Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates mirrors that of invasive isolates in Blantyre, Malawi'. Microbial Genomics, Vol 8, Issue 3, e000778.

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Members of the Klebsiella pneumoniae species complex, particularly Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. pneumoniae are antimicrobial resistance (AMR) associated pathogens of global importance, and polyvalent vaccines targeting Klebsiella O-antigens are in development. Whole-genome sequencing has provided insight into O-antigen distribution in the K. pneumoniae species complex, as well as population structure and virulence determinants, but genomes from sub-Saharan Africa are underrepresented in global sequencing efforts. We therefore carried out a genomic analysis of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing K. pneumoniae species complex isolates colonising adults in Blantyre, Malawi. We placed these isolates in a global genomic context, and compared colonising to invasive isolates from the main public hospital in Blantyre. 203 isolates from stool and rectal swabs from adults were whole-genome sequenced and compared to a publicly available multicounty collection and previously sequenced Malawian and Kenyan isolates from blood or sterile sites. We inferred phylogenetic relationships and analysed the diversity of genetic loci linked to AMR, virulence, capsule and LPS O-antigen (O-types). We find that the diversity of Malawian Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. pneumoniae isolates represents the species’ population structure, but shows distinct local signatures concerning clonal expansions. Siderophore and hypermucoidy genes were more frequent in invasive versus colonising isolates (present in 13% vs 1%) but still generally lacking in most invasive isolates. O-antigen population structure and distribution was similar in invasive and colonising isolates, with O4 more common (14%) than in previously published studies (2-5%). We conclude that host factors, pathogen opportunity or alternate virulence loci not linked to invasive disease elsewhere are likely to be the major determinants of invasive disease in Malawi. Distinct ST and O-type distributions in Malawi highlight the need to sample locations where the burden of invasive Klebsiella disease is greatest to robustly define secular trends in Klebsiella diversity to assist in the development of a useful vaccine. Colonising and invasive isolates in Blantyre are similar, hence O-typing of colonising Klebsiella isolates may be a rapid and cost-effective approach to describe global diversity and guide vaccine development.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QU Biochemistry > Genetics > QU 475 Genetic processes
QU Biochemistry > Genetics > QU 550 Genetic techniques. PCR. Chromosome mapping
QW Microbiology and Immunology > QW 45 Microbial drug resistance. General or not elsewhere classified.
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Samantha Sheldrake
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2022 12:16
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2023 09:13


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