Comparative Genomic Analyses of Virulence and Antimicrobial Resistance in Citrobacter werkmanii, an Emerging Opportunistic Pathogen

Jaime Martinez-Urtaza, José R. Aguirre-Sánchez, Beatriz Quiñones, José A. Ortiz-Muñoz, Rogelio Prieto-Alvarado, Inés F. Vega-López, Bertram G. Lee, Cristóbal Chaidez

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Citrobacter werkmanii is an emerging and opportunistic human pathogen found in developing countries and is a causative agent of wound, urinary tract, and blood infections. The present study conducted comparative genomic analyses of a C. werkmanii strain collection from diverse geographical locations and sources to identify the relevant virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes. Pangenome analyses divided the examined C. werkmanii strains into five distinct clades; the subsequent classification identified genes with functional roles in carbohydrate and general metabolism for the core genome and genes with a role in secretion, adherence, and the mobilome for the shell and cloud genomes. A maximum-likelihood phylogenetic tree with a heatmap, showing the virulence and antimicrobial genes' presence or absence, demonstrated the presence of genes with functional roles in secretion systems, adherence, enterobactin, and siderophore among the strains belonging to the different clades. C. werkmanii strains in clade V, predominantly from clinical sources, harbored genes implicated in type II and type Vb secretion systems as well as multidrug resistance to aminoglycoside, beta-lactamase, fluoroquinolone, phenicol, trimethoprim, macrolides, sulfonamide, and tetracycline. In summary, these comparative genomic analyses have demonstrated highly pathogenic and multidrug-resistant genetic profiles in C. werkmanii strains, indicating a virulence potential for this commensal and opportunistic human pathogen.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Citrobacter
  • Nosocomial infections
  • Virulence
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Comparative genomics
  • Emerging pathogens
  • Pangenomics
  • Whole-genome sequencing


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