Clinical evolution of ST11 carbapenem resistant and hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Kaichao Chen
  • Zhiwei Zheng
  • Ning Dong
  • Qiaoling Sun
  • Lingbin Shu
  • Danxia Gu
  • Edward Wai-Chi Chan
  • Rong Zhang


Original languageEnglish
Article number650
Journal / PublicationCommunications Biology
Online published1 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021



Carbapenem-resistant and hypervirulent K. pneumoniae (CR-HvKP) strains that have emerged recently have caused infections of extremely high mortality in various countries. In this study, we discovered a conjugative plasmid that encodes carbapenem resistance and hypervirulence in a clinical ST86 K2 CR-HvKP, namely 17ZR-91. The conjugative plasmid (p17ZR-91-Vir-KPC) was formed by fusion of a non-conjugative pLVPK-like plasmid and a conjugative blaKPC-2- bearing plasmid and is present dynamically with two other non-fusion plasmids. Conjugation of p17ZR-91-Vir-KPC to other K. pneumoniae enabled them to rapidly express the carbapenem resistance and hypervirulence phenotypes. More importantly, genome analysis provided direct evidence that p17ZR-91-Vir-KPC could be directly transmitted from K2 CR-HvKP strain, 17ZR-91, to ST11 clinical K. pneumoniae strains to convert them into ST11 CR-HvKP strains, which explains the evolutionary mechanisms of recently emerged ST11 CR-HvKP strains.

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