Major role of pKpQIL-like plasmids in the early dissemination of KPC-type carbapenemases in the UK

Michel Doumith*, Jacqueline Findlay, H. Hirani, K. L. Hopkins, David Livermore, A. Dodgson, Neil Woodford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing Enterobacteriaceae were first seen in the UK in 2003 and have been increasingly reported since 2010, largely owing to an ongoing outbreak in North-West England.We examined the role of clonal spread and plasmid transmission in their emergence. Methods: Isolates comprised KPC-positive K. pneumoniae (n = 33), Escherichia coli (n = 7) and Enterobacter spp. (n = 4) referred to the national reference laboratory between 2008 and 2010 from17 UK centres, including three in North-West England. Isolates were typed by MLST. Plasmids were transferred by electroporation and characterized by PCR or sequencing. PCR screening assays were developed to distinguish plasmid pKpQIL variants. Results: The K. pneumoniae isolates included 10 STs, of which three belonged to clonal group (CG) 258. CG258 (n = 19) isolates were detected in 13 centres but accounted for only 7/19 (36.8%) of those from North-West England. Most KPC-producers (37/44, 84.1%), including 16/19 CG258 K. pneumoniae, carried blaKPC on IncFIIK2 plasmids. Sequencing of a subset of these plasmids (n = 11) revealed similarities with published pKpQIL. One variant, pKpQIL-UK [identified in K. pneumoniae CG258 (n = 5) and ST468 (n = 1) isolates from distinct centres] had only a few nucleotide changes from classical pKpQIL, whereas pKpQIL-D1 (n = 1) and pKpQIL-D2 (n = 4), from isolates of various species in the North-West, harboured large variations, reflecting replacement of the partitioning and replication functions and potentially thereby facilitating spread. PCR revealed that 36/37 (97.3%) IncFIIK2-type plasmids in KPC-positive isolates had pKpQIL markers. Conclusions: pKpQIL-like plasmids played a major role in the early dissemination of KPC enzymes in the UK.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdkx141
Pages (from-to)2241-2248
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'Major role of pKpQIL-like plasmids in the early dissemination of KPC-type carbapenemases in the UK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this