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PeerJ. 2018 Aug 24;6:e5470. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5470. eCollection 2018.

The relationship between phylogenetic classification, virulence and antibiotic resistance of extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli in İzmir province, Turkey.

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Department of Biology, Basic and Industrial Microbiology Section, Faculty of Science, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey.
Department of Biology, Zoology Section, Faculty of Science, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey.
Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Ege University, İzmir, Turkey.
Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Medicum and Research Programs Unit, Immunobiology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.



Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) is an important bacterium and responsible for many bloodstream infections, including urinary tract infections and even fatal bacteremia. The aim of this research was to investigate whether ExPEC strains isolated from Turkish blood cultures have a relationship between 16S rRNA based phylogenetic clusters and antibiotic resistance profiles, virulence factors or clonal lineages.


Phenotypically identified ExPEC blood culture isolates (n = 104) were included in this study. The 16S rRNA partial sequence analysis was performed for genotypic identification of ExPEC isolates. Antibiotic susceptibility and Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase testing of isolates were performed. Phylogenetic classification (A, B1, B2 and D), Multi Locus Sequence Typing analysis and virulence-associated genes were investigated.


Based on 16S rRNA partial sequence analysis, 97 out of 104 (93.26%) ExPEC isolates were confirmed as E. coli. Ampicillin (74.22%) and cefuroxime axetil (65.97%) resistances had the highest frequencies among the ExPEC isolates. In terms of phylogenetic classification of ExPEC, D (38.14%, 37/97) was the most prevalent group after A (29.89%, 29/97), B2 (20.61%, 20/97), and B1 (11.34%, 11/97). The sequence types of the 20 ExPEC isolates belonging to the B2 phylogenetic group were analyzed by Multi Locus Sequence Typing. Ten isolates out of 20 (50.0%) were identified as ST131. The other STs were ST95 (n = 1), ST14 (n = 1), ST10 (n = 1), ST69 (n = 1), ST1722 (n = 2), ST141 (n = 1), ST88 (n = 1), ST80 (n = 1), and ST998 (n = 1). Of the ST131 strains, six (60%, 6/10) represented serogroup O25. The most common virulence factor genes were serum resistance factor gene, traT (55.7%) aerobactin siderophore receptor and yersiniabactin encoding genes iutA (45.3%) and fyuA (50.5%), respectively. In addition, PAI (41.2%), iroN (23.7%), hlyA (15.4%), kpsII (13.4%), ompT (13.4%), papG (12.4%), iss (9.3%), cnf1 (7.2%), ibeA (2.06%), and sfaS (2.06%) genes were present in the ExPEC isolates.


The 16S rRNA-based phylogenetic relationship tree analysis showed that a large cluster was present among 97 ExPEC isolates along with related reference strains. There were 21 main clusters with 32 closely related subclusters. Based on our findings, different clonal lineages of ExPEC can display different antibiotic susceptibilities and virulence properties. We also concluded that virulence factors were not distributed depending on phylogenetic groups (A, B1, B2, and D). The ExPEC isolates belonging to the same phylogenetic group and sequence type could display different resistance and virulence characteristics.


16S rRNA; Escherichia coli; MLST; ST131; Virulence; antibiotic resistance

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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