Genomic Characterization of Gonococci from Different Anatomic Sites, Italy, 2007-2014

Microb Drug Resist. 2019 Nov;25(9):1316-1324. doi: 10.1089/mdr.2018.0371. Epub 2019 Jun 20.


In recent decades, Neisseria gonorrhoeae has developed resistance to several antimicrobial classes. Molecular epidemiology approaches are useful for detecting emerging, often resistant, gonococcal clones. In this study, 67 N. gonorrhoeae isolates from different anatomic sites, collected over 8 years in Italy, were analyzed by whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS was performed using the Illumina NextSeq 500 platform. Phylogenetic analysis was based on core single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and core genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST). N. gonorrhoeae multi-antigen sequence typing (NG-MAST), MLST, and N. gonorrhoeae sequence typing for antimicrobial resistance (NG-STAR) were carried out in silico using WGS data. Antimicrobial susceptibility against a four-drug panel was evaluated using a gradient diffusion method. Overall, gonococci clustered in accordance with NG-MAST, MLST, NG-STAR, and antimicrobials susceptibility profiles, but not with the site of isolation, HIV status, and patient sexual orientation. Phylogenetic analysis identified nine clades: two of them were the predominant and including gonococci of G1407 and G2400 genogroups.

Keywords: Neisseria gonorrhoeae; molecular characterization; typing; whole genome sequencing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Female
  • Genomics
  • Gonorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • Gonorrhea / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / drug effects*
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents