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. 2013 Dec;51(12):4073-8.
doi: 10.1128/JCM.01924-13. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Wzi Gene Sequencing, a Rapid Method for Determination of Capsular Type for Klebsiella Strains

Free PMC article

Wzi Gene Sequencing, a Rapid Method for Determination of Capsular Type for Klebsiella Strains

Sylvain Brisse et al. J Clin Microbiol. .
Free PMC article


Pathogens of the genus Klebsiella have been classified into distinct capsular (K) types for nearly a century. K typing of Klebsiella species still has important applications in epidemiology and clinical microbiology, but the serological method has strong practical limitations. Our objective was to evaluate the sequencing of wzi, a gene conserved in all capsular types of Klebsiella pneumoniae that codes for an outer membrane protein involved in capsule attachment to the cell surface, as a simple and rapid method for the prediction of K type. The sequencing of a 447-nucleotide region of wzi distinguished the K-type reference strains with only nine exceptions. A reference wzi sequence database was created by the inclusion of multiple strains representing K types associated with high virulence and multidrug resistance. A collection of 119 prospective clinical isolates of K. pneumoniae were then analyzed in parallel by wzi sequencing and classical K typing. Whereas K typing achieved typeability for 81% and discrimination for 94.4% of the isolates, these figures were 98.1% and 98.3%, respectively, for wzi sequencing. The prediction of K type once the wzi allele was known was 94%. wzi sequencing is a rapid and simple method for the determination of the K types of most K. pneumoniae clinical isolates.


Fig 1
Fig 1
Dendrogram of 135 wzi alleles. The tree was built using BioNumerics version 6.6 based on the uncorrected p distance. Each sequence corresponds to a distinct wzi allele, as indicated. The allele number is followed by the corresponding capsular type(s). Dots separating several K types indicate cross-reactions, whereas successions of distinct K types with no dot (e.g., K15K17K50K51K52) indicate that the wzi allele was found in strains reacting individually with one of these distinct K types. The three main branches (A, B, and C) are labeled. K P-2008 indicates the novel serotype described by Pan et al. (17). Bootstrap values of the remarkable nodes are given.

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