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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2014 May;33(5):837-43. doi: 10.1007/s10096-013-2022-6. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Fitness cost associated with resistance to fluoroquinolones is diverse across clones of Klebsiella pneumoniae and may select for CTX-M-15 type extended-spectrum β-lactamase.

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Division of Bacteriology, Mycology, Parasitology and Molecular Epidemiology, National Center for Epidemiology, Budapest, Albert Flórián út 2-6, 1097, Hungary.


Lowered fitness cost associated with resistance to fluoroquinolones was recently demonstrated to influence the clonal dynamics of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the health care setting. We investigated whether or not a similar mechanism impacts Klebsiella pneumoniae. The fitness of K. pneumoniae isolates from major international hospital clones (ST11, ST15, ST147) already showing high-level resistance to fluoroquinolones and of strains from three minor clones (ST25, ST274, ST1028) in which fluoroquinolone resistance was induced in vitro was tested in a propagation assay. Strains from major clones showed significantly less fitness cost than three of four fluoroquinolone-resistant derivatives of minor clone isolates. In addition, plasmids with CTX-M-15 type extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) genes were all retained in both major and minor clone isolates, irrespective of the strains' level of fluoroquinolone resistance, while each plasmid harboring SHV-type ESBLs had been lost during the induction of resistance. Major clone K. pneumoniae strains harbored more amino acid substitutions in the quinolone resistance determining regions (QRDRs) of the gyrA and parC genes than minor clone isolates. The presence of an active efflux system could be demonstrated in all fluoroquinolone-resistant derivatives of originally SHV-producing minor clone isolates but not in any CTX-M-15-producing strain. Further investigations are needed to expand and confirm our findings on a larger sample. In addition, a long-term observation of our ciprofloxacin-resistant minor clone isolates is required in order to elucidate whether or not they are capable of restoring their fitness while concomitantly retaining high minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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