Molecular epidemiology and virulence of Escherichia coli O16: H5-ST131: Comparison with H30 and H30-Rx subclones of O25b: H4-ST131

Ghizlane Dahbi, Azucena Mora, Rosalia Mamani, Cecilia López, María Pilar Alonso, Juan Marzoa, Miguel Blanco, Alexandra Herrera, Susana Viso, Fernando García-Garrote, Veronika Tchesnokova, Mariya Billig, Fernando de la Cruz, María de Toro, Juan José González-López, Guillermo Prats, Fernando Chaves, Luis Martínez-Martínez, Lorena López-Cerezo, Erick DenamurJorge Blanco

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© 2014 Elsevier GmbH. The present study was carried out to evaluate the prevalence of the clonal subgroup O16:H5-ST131 and the H30 and H30-Rx subclones among E. coli isolates causing extraintestinal infections and to know their virulence potential. The ST131 clonal group accounted for 490 (16%) of the 2995 isolates obtained from clinical samples in five Spanish hospitals during the study period (2005-2012). Among those 490 ST131 isolates, 456 belonged to serotype O25b:H4, 27 to O16:H5 and seven were O-non-typeable:H4 (ONT:H4). All 27 O16:H5 isolates showed fimH41, whereas fimH30 and fimH22 alleles were the most frequently detected among O25b:H4 isolates. The majority (381/490; 78%) of ST131 isolates belonged to H30 subclone, and 302 of 381 (79%) H30 isolates belonged to the H30-Rx subclone. Of the 27 O16:H5 isolates, 48% produced CTX-M-14; however, none produced CTX-M-15. In contrast, 46% of O25b:H4 isolates produced CTX-M-15 while only 2% produced CTX-M-14. More than a half of the O16:H5 isolates (56%) showed the ExPEC status which was significantly more prevalent within O25b:H4 isolates (81%) (P<. 0.01), especially among H30-Rx (97%) isolates. In the present study, a modified virotype scheme was applied within which approximately half (52%) of the O16:H5 isolates showed the C1 specific virotype. Despite their low virulence-gene score (mean of virulence genes 6.4 versus 8.5 in O25b:H4 isolates), six out of the 10 O16:H5 isolates assayed showed high virulence in the mouse model of sepsis (killed 90-100% of mice challenged). Furthermore, four O16:H5 isolates of virotypes A and C1, carrying K2 variant of group II capsule, showed lethality at 24. h. Thus, certain O16:H5 fimH41 isolates show a similar in vivo virulence to that reported with the highly virulent O25b:H4 H30-Rx isolates (Mora et al., PLOS ONE 2014, e87025), supporting their potential virulence for humans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1247-1257
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • E. coli
  • ExPEC
  • H30 and H30-Rx subclones
  • O16:H5
  • O25b:H4
  • ST131 clonal group


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