Genomic epidemiology of Klebsiella pneumoniae in Italy and novel insights into the origin and global evolution of its resistance to carbapenem antibiotics

Stefano Gaiarsa, Francesco Comandatore, Paolo Gaibani, Marta Corbella, Claudia Dalla Valle, Sara Epis, Erika Scaltriti, Edoardo Carretto, Claudio Farina, Maria Labonia, Maria Paola Landini, Stefano Pongolini, Vittorio Sambri, Claudio Bandi, Piero Marone, Davide Sasserac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Klebsiella pneumoniae is at the forefront of antimicrobial resistance for Gram-negative pathogenic bacteria, as strains resistant to third-generation cephalosporins and carbapenems are widely reported. The worldwide diffusion of these strains is of great concern due to the high morbidity and mortality often associated with K. pneumoniae infections in nosocomial environments. We sequenced the genomes of 89 K. pneumoniae strains isolated in six Italian hospitals. Strains were selected based on antibiotypes, regardless of multilocus sequence type, to obtain a picture of the epidemiology of K. pneumoniae in Italy. Thirty-one strains were carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae carbapenemase producers, 29 were resistant to third-generation cephalosporins, and 29 were susceptible to the aforementioned antibiotics. The genomes were compared to all of the sequences available in the databases, obtaining a data set of 319 genomes spanning the known diversity of K. pneumoniae worldwide. Bioinformatic analyses of this global data set allowed us to construct a whole-species phylogeny, to detect patterns of antibiotic resistance distribution, and to date the differentiation between specific clades of interest. Finally, we detected an ∼1.3-Mb recombination that characterizes all of the isolates of clonal complex 258, the most widespread carbapenem-resistant group of K. pneumoniae. The evolution of this complex was modeled, dating the newly detected and the previously reported recombination events. The present study contributes to the understanding of K. pneumoniae evolution, providing novel insights into its global genomic characteristics and drawing a dated epidemiological scenario for this pathogen in Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-396
Number of pages8
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology
  • Infectious Diseases

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