Background: Novel therapies are urgently needed to treat carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CR-Kp)-mediated infection, which constitute a major health threat in the United States. In order to assess if it is feasible to develop anticapsular antibodies as a potential novel therapy, it is crucial to first systematically characterize capsular polysaccharide (CPS) and virulence traits in these strains.
Methods: Forty CR-Kp were genotyped by pulsed field gel electrophoresis, multilocus sequence typing (MLST), and molecular capsule typing (C-patterns and wzi sequencing). Their biofilm formation, serum resistance, macrophage-mediated killing, and virulence in Galleria mellonella were compared. MAb (1C9) was generated by co-immunization with 2 CPSs, and cross-reactivity was investigated.
Results: MLST assigned 80% of CR-Kp isolates to the ST258-clone. Molecular capsule typing identified new C-patterns, including C200/wzi-154, which was widely represented and associated with blaKPC-3-bearing strains. Heterogeneity was detected in biofilm formation and macrophage-mediated killing. Differences in serum resistance correlated with virulence in G. mellonella. ST258 strains carrying blaKPC-3 were less virulent than those with blaKPC-2. MAb 1C9 cross-reacted with 58% of CR-Kp CPSs.
Conclusions: CR-Kp ST258 strains exhibit variability of virulence-associated traits. Differences were associated with the type of KPC gene and CPS. Identification of cross-reacting anti-CPS mAbs encourages their development as adjunctive therapy.
Keywords: Klebsiella pneumoniae; adjuvant therapy; carbapenem resistance; virulence.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.