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Concurrent emergence of multidrug resistance and heat resistance by CTX‐M‐15‐encoding conjugative plasmids in Klebsiella pneumoniae

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A plasmid‐encoded ClpK protein was recently identified as a predictor of a heat‐resistant phenotype in the opportunistic pathogen Klebsiella pneumoniae. This study was undertaken to evaluate the presence of the clpK gene in extended‐spectrum β‐lactamase (ESBL)‐producing K. pneumoniae and to assess the probable co‐transfer of multi‐resistance with the heat resistance phenotype. A Danish collection of 80 ESBL‐producing K. pneumoniae bloodstream infection isolates was screened for clpK by colony hybridization. Nineteen isolates (24%) were positive for clpK; some of them representing major clones identified in Denmark. Among these, nine isolates belonged to a single K. pneumoniae CTX‐M‐15 clone with sequence type (ST)16 exhibiting a heat‐resistant phenotype. This clone has a multi‐hospital occurrence and has also been detected outside Denmark. Horizontal co‐transfer of multiple antibiotic resistances, including the CTX‐M‐15 resistance determinant, and the heat resistance phenotype was observed. Thus, the clpK gene is harbored by different ESBL‐producing K. pneumoniae isolates including a clone of ST16 internationally spread. The co‐localization of clpK on transferable ESBL‐encoding plasmids allowing co‐dissemination of multiple drug resistance with bacterial heat resistance is a highly interesting phenomenon that may further complicate the prevention of spreading of certain successful clones of multi‐resistant K. pneumoniae.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-09-01

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