Genomic features associated with the degree of phenotypic resistance to carbapenems in carbapenem-resistant klebsiella pneumoniae

Zackery P. Bulman*, Fiorella Krapp*, Nathan B. Pincus, Eric Wenzler, Katherine R. Murphy, Chao Qi, Egon A. Ozer, Alan R. Hauser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae strains cause severe infections that are difficult to treat. The production of carbapenemases such as the K. pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) is a common mechanism by which these strains resist killing by the carbapenems. However, the degree of phenotypic carbapenem resistance (MIC) may differ markedly between isolates with similar carbapenemase genes, suggesting that our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of carbapenem resistance remains incomplete. To address this problem, we determined the whole-genome sequences of 166 K. pneumoniae clinical isolates resistant to meropenem, imipenem, or ertapenem. Multiple linear regression analysis of this collection of largely blaKPC-3-containing sequence type 258 (ST258) isolates indicated that blaKPC copy number and some outer membrane porin gene mutations were associated with higher MICs to carbapenems. A trend toward higher MICs was also observed with those blaKPC genes carried by the d isoform of Tn4401. In contrast, ompK37 mutations were associated with lower carbapenem MICs, and extended spectrum b-lactamase genes were not associated with higher or lower MICs in carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae. A machine learning approach based on the whole-genome sequences of these isolates did not result in a substantial improvement in prediction of isolates with high or low MICs. These results build upon previous findings suggesting that multiple factors influence the overall carbapenem resistance levels in carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae isolates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00194-21
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Carbapenem
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Machine learning
  • Whole-genome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Microbiology
  • Modeling and Simulation


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