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Association of CRISPR/Cas System with the Drug Resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae

Authors Wang G, Song G, Xu Y

Received 11 March 2020

Accepted for publication 9 June 2020

Published 23 June 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1929—1935


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Suresh Antony

Gang Wang,* Guobin Song,* Yuanhong Xu

Department of Clinical Laboratory, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui Province, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Yuanhong Xu Email

Background: Klebsiella pneumoniae is a common opportunistic pathogen and its production of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL) and carbapenemases leads to drug resistance. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) and their associated genes (Cas) are widespread in the genome of many bacteria and are a defense mechanism against foreign invaders such as plasmids and viruses.
Purpose: To investigate the prevalence of the CRISPR/Cas system in wild type strains of K. pneumoniae in the hospital and its association with drug resistance.
Materials and Methods: A total of 136 strains were collected and characterized their susceptibility to antimicrobial agents. The prevalence of CRISPR/Cas system was detected by PCR and DNA sequencing was analyzed by CRISPRFinder. The statistical analysis of the results was performed by SPSS.
Results: We found that 50/136 (37%) isolates produced ESBL and 30/136 (22%) isolates were resistant to carbapenems. These isolates were liable to be multidrug resistant against β-lactams, quinolones, and aminoglycosides. Among the carbapenem-resistant isolates, blaKPC was the main drug resistance-associated gene and different types of ESBL and AmpC genes were present. Resistance to β-lactams, quinolones, aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, and β-lactams/enzyme inhibitor were higher in absence of the CRISPR/Cas system. Eighteen spacers within the CRISPR arrays matched with the genomes of plasmids or phages, some of which carried drug resistance genes.
Conclusion: ESBL-producing and carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae are more likely to develop multidrug resistance and show an inverse correlation between drug resistance and CRISPR/Cas system. Absence of CRISPR/Cas modules allow for the acquisition of external drug resistance genes.

Keywords: CRISPR/Cas, Klebsiella pneumoniae, extended-spectrum β-lactamases, carbapenemases, drug resistance

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