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ICEKp2: description of an integrative and conjugative element in Klebsiella pneumoniae, co-occurring and interacting with ICEKp1.

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posted on 2019-10-02, 13:01 authored by R Farzand, K Rajakumar, R Zamudio, MR Oggioni, MR Barer, HM O'Hare
Klebsiella pneumoniae is a human pathogen, prominent in antimicrobial-resistant and nosocomial infection. The integrative and conjugative element ICEKp1 is present in a third of clinical isolates and more prevalent in invasive disease; it provides genetic diversity and enables the spread of virulence-associated genes. We report a second integrative conjugative element that can co-occur with ICEKp1 in K. pneumoniae. This element, ICEKp2, is similar to the Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenicity island PAPI. We identified ICEKp2 in K. pneumoniae sequence types ST11, ST258 and ST512, which are associated with carbapenem-resistant outbreaks in China and the US, including isolates with and without ICEKp1. ICEKp2 was competent for excision, but self-mobilisation to recipient Escherichia coli was not detected. In an isolate with both elements, ICEKp2 positively influenced the efficiency of plasmid mobilisation driven by ICEKp1. We propose a putative mechanism, in which a Mob2 ATPase of ICEKp2 may contribute to the ICEKp1 conjugation machinery. Supporting this mechanism, mob2, but not a variant with mutations in the ATPase motif, restored transfer efficiency to an ICEKp2 knockout. This is the first demonstration of the interaction between integrative and conjugative genetic elements in a single Gram-negative bacterium with implications for understanding evolution by horizontal gene transfer.


Funding was provided by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (PKCA-2013-82). This research used the SPECTRE high performance computing facility at the University of Leicester.



Scientific Reports, 2019, volume 9, Article number: 13892

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF LIFE SCIENCES/School of Medicine/Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation


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