Background: Bacterial species belonging to the genus Exiguobacterium are facultative anaerobic, non-spore-forming, Gram-positive bacilli, and rarely associated with human infections. Herein, we reported the first case of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and bacteremia due to Exiguobacterium spp. in China.
Case presentation: An adult male with severe CAP was hospitalized. The pathogen was isolated from his bloodstream and broncho-alveolar lavage fluid. The correct identification of the micro-organism was achieved using 16S rRNA sequencing, and its antibiotic susceptibility test was performed by microdilution method. The Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) was used to characterize its genetic features and to elucidate its potential pathogenic mechanisms. Furthermore, its genome sequence was also compared with those of 3 publicly-available Exiguobacterium strains. A PubMed search was performed for further understanding the features of Exiguobacterium infections. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence showed that the strain GX59 was most closely related to Exiguobacterium AT1b (99.7%). The genome of GX59 was 2,727,929 bp in size, harbouring 2855 putative protein-coding genes, 5 rRNA operons, 37 tRNA genes and 1 tmRNA. The multiple genome comparison of 4 Exiguobacterium strains demonstrated that Exiguobacterium contained 37 genes of secretion systems, including sec, tat, FEA, Type IV Pili and competence-related DNA transformation transporter (Com). Virulence factors of the micro-organism included tlyC, NprR, MCP, Dam, which might play a critical role in causing lethal infection.
Conclusions: The study highlighted the potential pathogenicity of the genus Exiguobacterium for its unique genes encoding various virulence factors and those associated with antibiotic resistance, therefore, its clinical significance should be valued.
Keywords: Antibiotics; Bacteremia; Community-acquired pneumonia; Exiguobacterium spp.; Virulence factors; Whole genome sequencing.