Institut d'Investigació Sanitària Illes Balears (IdISBa) Research Group.

Whole-genome sequence-guided PCR for the rapid identification of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa ST175 high-risk clone directly from clinical samples

Gabriel Cabot 1, Paula Lara-Esbrí 1, Xavier Mulet 1, Antonio Oliver 1

1 Servicio de Microbiología and Unidad de Investigación, Hospital Universitari Son Espases, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Illes Balears (IdISBa), Palma de Mallorca, Spain.


Objectives: Pseudomonas aeruginosa frequently show MDR/XDR profiles, which are associated with worldwide-disseminated high-risk clones (HRCs). We developed a PCR assay for the detection in clinical samples of ST175, an HRC that is widespread in European countries.

Methods: The whole-genome sequence was obtained for one ST175 isolate using a PacBio RSII sequencer. Reads from multiple isolates belonging to ST175 and the PAO1 reference strain were mapped against the ST175 genome to identify potentially specific regions. Once curated, using the BLAST database to search for the presence of those regions in any other organism, we designed a specific PCR for the detection of ST175.

Results: Assembly of the ST175 PacBio-sequenced genome resulted in three contigs with a total length of 7087985 bases, encoding 6566 coding sequences. Specific regions for ST175 genomes were detected and a PCR targeting a 318 bp fragment located within a 3177 bp ORF coding for a putative reverse transcriptase was designed. The PCR test was first evaluated in silico against 229 XDR P. aeruginosa genomes (73 ST175) from two multicentre studies, yielding 100% sensitivity and specificity. Then, the PCR was evaluated in vitro in 25 isolates (12 ST175) and in 120 clinical samples (30 urine samples, 30 blood cultures, 30 sputum samples and 30 rectal swabs) of which 10% contained ST175, yielding again 100% sensitivity and specificity.

Conclusions: The PCR assay developed, showing high sensitivity and specificity for the detection of the ST175 HRC directly from clinical samples, could become a useful tool for guiding infection control and treatment strategies in areas with a high prevalence of this clone.

J Antimicrob Chemoter. 2021 Mar 12;76(4):945-949. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkaa528.

Link to J Antimicrob Chemoter

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Dr. Bartolome Moyà

Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Illes Balears

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