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PLoS One. 2014 May 13;9(5):e96827. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096827. eCollection 2014.

Diversity of capsular polysaccharide gene clusters in Kpc-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae clinical isolates of sequence type 258 involved in the Italian epidemic.

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Department of Medical Biotechnologies, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.
Operative Unit of Clinical Microbiology, St. Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy.
Unit of Microbiology, "S. Corona" Hospital, Pietra Ligure, Italy.
Department of Medical Biotechnologies, University of Siena, Siena, Italy; Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy; Clinical Microbiology and Virology Unit, Florence Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy.


Strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae producing KPC-type beta-lactamases (KPC-Kp) are broadly disseminating worldwide and constitute a major healthcare threat given their extensively drug resistant phenotypes and ability to rapidly disseminate in healthcare settings. In this work we report on the characterization of two different capsular polysaccharide (CPS) gene clusters, named cpsBO-4 and cps207-2, from two KPC-Kp clinical strains from Italy belonging in sequence type (ST) 258, which is one of the most successful ST of KPC-Kp spreading worldwide. While cpsBO-4 was different from known 78 K-types according to the recently proposed typing schemes based on the wzi or wzc gene sequences, cps207-2 was classified as K41 by one of these methods. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that they were represented in the genomic sequences of KPC-Kp from strains of ST258 from different countries, and cpsBO-4 was also detected in a KPC-Kp strain of ST442 from Brazil. Investigation of a collection of 46 ST258 and ST512 (a single locus variant of ST258) clinical strains representative of the recent Italian epidemic of KPC-Kp by means of a multiplex PCR typing approach revealed that cpsBO-4 was the most prevalent type, being detected both in ST258 and ST512 strains with a countrywide distribution, while cps207-2 was only detected in ST258 strains with a more restricted distribution.

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