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Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2018 Nov 8;13:3663-3667. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S180961. eCollection 2018.

Sputum Moraxella catarrhalis strains exhibit diversity within and between COPD subjects.

Author information

Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK,
Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.



Moraxella catarrhalis is implicated in the pathogenesis of some COPD exacerbations. We sought to investigate whether the M. catarrhalis strain is variable between COPD subjects; that an exacerbation is associated with acquisition of a new strain and that certain strains are more commonly associated with exacerbations.

Patients and methods:

Sputum samples were collected at stable and exacerbation visits from COPD subjects from a single center as part of the COPDMAP consortium. Samples identified as M. catarrhalis positive by qPCR were recultured in liquid cultures grown to extract genomic DNA; underwent Illumina MiSeq and bacterial genome sequences were de novo assembled and Multi Locus Sequence Type (MLST) was determined.


Thirty-five samples were obtained from 18 subjects. These included 13 stable and 22 exacerbation samples. The diversity between samples was very large with 25 different M. catarrhalis MLSTs being identified out of the 35 samples of which 12 MSLTs have not been described previously. Change and persistence of M. catarrhalis strain were observed between stable visits, from stable to exacerbation and vice-a-versa, and between exacerbation visits.


Sputum M. catarrhalis strains exhibit marked diversity within and between COPD subjects. Acquisition of a new strain is common between stable and exacerbation events such that no strain is specifically associated with an exacerbation.


COPD; Moraxella catarrhalis; exacerbation; strain change

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure Dr Brightling reports grants from MRC, grants from Air-PROM, grants from NIHR, during the conduct of the study; grants and/or personal fees paid to his institution from Glaxo-SmithKline, AstraZeneca/Medimmune, Novartis, Chiesi, Roche/Genentech, Vectura, Theravance, PreP, Gilead, Sanofi/Regeneron, Teva, Pfizer, Mologic, Boehringer- Inglheim, Gossamer, and 4DPharma. The authors report no other conflicts of interest in this work.

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