Objectives: To analyse Streptococcus agalactiae (group B Streptococcus; GBS) isolates collected in Poland from various human infections and carriage in respect of their clonality, distribution of virulence factors and antimicrobial resistance determinants, including the detection of transposons involved in the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance.
Methods: One hundred and fourteen GBS isolates were analysed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST), serotyping and detection of alp genes of the alpha-like-protein (Alp) family. Determinants of resistance to macrolides and tetracycline, and associated transposons, were detected by PCR and analysed by sequencing.
Results: GBS isolates represented 30 different sequence types (STs), grouped in four clonal complexes (CCs), and belonged to seven serotypes. Serotype III was predominant (36.0%), followed by Ia, V, Ib, II, IV and VI. The most common alp genes were rib (26.3%) and alp1/alp5 (23.7%). The bac gene encoding the beta-compound of the surface C-protein was present in 17.5% of isolates. Erythromycin resistance (18.4% of isolates) was found in all CCs, but was associated with serotype V and ST1. The most prevalent determinant of resistance was erm(B), usually located on the Tn3872-like transposon. Several changes were observed in the regulatory region of erm(B), some of them resulting in elevated ketolide MICs. Resistance to tetracycline was ubiquitous (91.2%) and its most common determinant was tet(M), occurring in several variants that were typically carried on Tn916-family transposons.
Conclusions: Analysis of bacterial serotypes, alp genes and antimicrobial resistance determinants in the background of MLST-based population structure strengthened evidence of the importance of horizontal gene transfer in GBS evolution.