Biological Markers of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Epidemic High-Risk Clones
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AuthorMulet Aguiló, Xavier; Cabot Mesquida, Gabriel; Ocampo Sosa, Alain Antonio; Domínguez Luzón, María Ángeles; Zamorano Páez, Laura; Juan Nicolau, Carlos; Tubau Quintana, Fe; Rodríguez Antona, Cristina; Moyá Cañellas, Bartolomé; Peña Miralles, Carmen; Martínez Martínez, Luis; Oliver Palomo, Antonio
A limited number of Pseudomonas aeruginosa genotypes (mainly ST-111, ST-175, and ST-235), known as high-risk clones, are responsible for epidemics of nosocomial infections by multidrug-resistant (MDR) or extensively drug-resistant (XDR) strains worldwide. We explored the potential biological parameters that may explain the success of these clones. A total of 20 isolates from each of 4 resistance groups (XDR, MDR, ModR [resistant to 1 or 2 classes], and MultiS [susceptible to all antipseudomonals]), recovered from a multicenter study of P. aeruginosa bloodstream infections performed in 10 Spanish hospitals, were analyzed. A further set of 20 XDR isolates belonging to epidemic high-risk clones (ST-175 [n = 6], ST-111 [n = 7], and ST-235 [n = 7]) recovered from different geographical locations was also studied. When unknown, genotypes were documented through multilocus sequence typing. The biological parameters evaluated included twitching, swimming, and swarming motility, biofilm formation, production of pyoverdine and pyocyanin, spontaneous mutant frequencies, and the in vitro competition index (CI) obtained with a flow cytometry assay. All 20 (100%) XDR, 8 (40%) MDR, and 1 (5%) ModR bloodstream isolate from the multicenter study belonged to high-risk clones. No significant differences were observed between clonally diverse ModR and MultiS isolates for any of the parameters. In contrast, MDR/XDR high-risk clones showed significantly increased biofilm formation and mutant frequencies but significantly reduced motility (twitching, swimming, and swarming), production of pyoverdine and pyocyanin, and fitness. The defined biological markers of high-risk clones, which resemble those resulting from adaptation to chronic infections, could be useful for the design of specific treatment and infection control strategies.