Pan-resistome characterization of uropathogenic Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae strains circulating in Uganda and Kenya, isolated from 2017-2018

Arun Decano*, Kerry Andrea Pettigrew, Wilber Sabiiti, Derek James Sloan, Stella Neema, Joel Bazira, John Kiiru, Hellen Atieno Onyango, Benon Asiimwe, Matthew Holden

*Corresponding author for this work

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Urinary tract infection (UTI) develops after a pathogen adheres to the inner lining of the urinary tract. Cases of UTIs are predominantly caused by several Gram-negative bacteria and account for high morbidity in the clinical and community settings. Of greater concern are the strains carrying antimicrobial resistance (AMR)-conferring genes. The gravity of a UTI is also determined by a spectrum of other virulence factors. This study represents a pilot project to investigate the burden of AMR among uropathogens in East Africa. We examined bacterial samples isolated in 2017–2018 from in- and out-patients in Kenya (KY) and Uganda (UG) that presented with clinical symptoms of UTI. We reconstructed the evolutionary history of the strains, investigated their population structure, and performed comparative analysis their pangenome contents. We found 55 Escherichia coli and 19 Klebsiella pneumoniae strains confirmed uropathogenic following screening for the prevalence of UTI virulence genes including fimH, iutA, feoA/B/C, mrkD, and foc. We identified 18 different sequence types in E. coli population while all K. pneumoniae strains belong to ST11. The most prevalent E. coli sequence types were ST131 (26%), ST335/1193 (10%), and ST10 (6%). Diverse plasmid types were observed in both collections such as Incompatibility (IncF/IncH/IncQ1/IncX4) and Col groups. Pangenome analysis of each set revealed a total of 2862 and 3464 genes comprised the core genome of E. coli and K. pneumoniae population, respectively. Among these are acquired AMR determinants including fluoroquinolone resistance-conferring genes aac(3)-Ib-cr and other significant genes: aad, tet, sul1, sul2, and cat, which are associated with aminoglycoside, tetracycline, sulfonamide, and chloramphenicol resistance, respectively. Accessory genomes of both species collections were detected several β-lactamase genes, blaCTX-M, blaTEM and blaOXA, or blaNDM. Overall, 93% are multi-drug resistant in the E. coli collection while 100% of the K. pneumoniae strains contained genes that are associated with resistance to three or more antibiotic classes. Our findings illustrate the abundant acquired resistome and virulome repertoire in uropathogenic E.coli and K. pneumoniae, which are mainly disseminated via clonal and horizontal transfer, circulating in the East African region. We further demonstrate here that routine genomic surveillance is necessary for high-resolution bacterial epidemiology of these important AMR pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1547
Number of pages16
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Pangenome
  • lmic
  • Public health


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