Carriage of bla KPC-2 by a virulence plasmid in hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae

Ning Dong, Dachuan Lin, Rong Zhang, Edward Wai Chi Chan, Sheng Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives To characterize a plasmid in a K1 hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (HvKP) strain encoding both hypervirulence and carbapenem resistance phenotypes. Methods Plasmids from HvKP strain KP70-2 were subjected to whole-plasmid sequencing using both the Illumina NextSeq 500 sequencing platform and Nanopore MinION sequencer platforms. Results A hybrid virulence-And resistance-encoding plasmid of 240 kb, harbouring both the virulence gene rmpA2 and the carbapenemase gene bla KPC-2, was recovered from a clinical HvKP strain. Designated pKP70-2, the plasmid was found to be almost structurally identical to various known hypervirulence-encoding plasmids harboured by other HvKP strains, except for an extra MDR-encoding region located within the genetically conserved plasmid backbone. This MDR region was flanked by two copies of IS26 in the same orientation, one at each end and linked to an external 8 bp (CTAAAATT) product of target site duplications, suggesting that an insertion event was responsible for the integration of the MDR region into the virulence plasmid. The MDR region was also found to harbour mobile elements that in turn contain the antibiotic resistance genes dfrA14 and bla KPC-2. Conclusions Based on the genetic composition of pKP70-2, we postulate that the multiple insertion elements that it harbours were responsible for mediating the plasmid recombination events that underlie continuous emergence and genetic adaptation of novel resistance-And virulence-encoding mobile elements in K. pneumoniae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3317-3321
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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