Allelic discrimination assays for important Klebsiella pneumoniae strains


Researchers at TGen and Northern Arizona University have identified robust genomic signatures unique to certain particularly virulent strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae and have designed molecular assays to detect K. pneumoniae and distinguish those strains. Both assays show 100% sensitivity and specificity, so are ideal for easy, cost-effective microbial surveillance.


KPC-producing K. pneumoniae are one of the most widely disseminated carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) pathogens affecting healthcare systems. These infections have limited antimicrobial treatment options, are associated with high morbidity and mortality rates, and have been declared an immediate public health threat that requires urgent and aggressive action by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dissemination of KPC-producing K. pneumoniae is largely attributed to expansion of a single dominant strain, ST258. ST258 is a member of clonal group (CG) 258, which comprises several other strains linked to healthcare-associated outbreaks and is associated with a variety of carbapenemases including KPC, NDM, VIM, and OXA-48.


Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a highly conserved gene in K. pneumoniae have been identified. One SNP is specific to the widely disseminated KPC-producing K. pneumoniae strain ST258, and the other is specific to the wider clonal group CG258, which includes ST258 and several other strains that repeatedly cause outbreaks in the global healthcare system. PCR-based assays targeting these SNPs have been designed for use as surveillance tools and outbreak case identification. These assays are sensitive to all K. pneumoniae and can also distinguish either ST258 or CG258.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Katie Bray
Intellectual Property Counsel
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Jolene Bowers
Paul Keim
David Engelthaler
Elizabeth Driebe