KPC-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPC-Kp) represent a serious problem worldwide. Herein, we describe the evolution of ceftazidime/avibactam resistance by sequencing longitudinal clinical isolates from a patient with KPC-Kp bloodstream infection undergoing ceftazidime/avibactam treatment.
WGS was performed on one ceftazidime/avibactam-susceptible KPC-Kp (BOT-CA-S) and two phenotypically different ceftazidime/avibactam-resistant KPC-Kp with low (BOT-CA-R) and high (BOT-EMO) carbapenem MICs. The population diversity was assessed by the frequency of allele mutations and population analysis profiles (PAPs).
Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated clonal relatedness of the KPC-Kp isolates, all belonging to the clone ST1519. The D179Y mutation in blaKPC-3 was detected in both of the ceftazidime/avibactam-resistant KPC-Kp, whereas it was absent in the ceftazidime/avibactam-susceptible isolate. The mutation emerged independently in the two ceftazidime/avibactam-resistant isolates and was associated with a significant reduction in carbapenem MICs in BOT-CA-R, but not in BOT-EMO. WGS analysis revealed that the frequency of the D179Y mutation was 96.32% and 51.05% in BOT-CA-R and BOT-EMO, respectively. PAP results demonstrated that carbapenem resistance in BOT-EMO was due to the coexistence of mixed subpopulations harbouring WT and mutated blaKPC-3. A bacterial subpopulation with high ceftazidime/avibactam resistance for BOT-EMO KPC-Kp showed low carbapenem MICs, whereas a subpopulation with high meropenem resistance had a low MIC of ceftazidime/avibactam.
Our analysis indicates that mixed subpopulations of ceftazidime/avibactam-resistant KPC-Kp emerge after ceftazidime/avibactam treatment. The evolution of different subpopulations that are highly resistant to ceftazidime/avibactam likely contributes to treatment failure, thereby highlighting the need for combination treatment strategies to limit selection of ceftazidime/avibactam-resistant KPC-Kp subpopulations.