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Bacterial genome-wide association study substantiates papGII of Escherichia coli as a major risk factor for urosepsis


Cuénod, Aline; Agnetti, Jessica; Seth-Smith, Helena M B; Roloff, Tim; Wälchli, Denise; Shcherbakov, Dimitri; Akbergenov, Rashid; Tschudin-Sutter, Sarah; Bassetti, Stefano; Siegemund, Martin; Nickel, Christian H; Moran-Gilad, Jacob; Keys, Timothy G; Pflüger, Valentin; Thomson, Nicholas R; Egli, Adrian (2023). Bacterial genome-wide association study substantiates papGII of Escherichia coli as a major risk factor for urosepsis. Genome Medicine, 15(1):89.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common bacterial infections worldwide, often caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Multiple bacterial virulence factors or patient characteristics have been linked separately to progressive, more invasive infections. In this study, we aim to identify pathogen- and patient-specific factors that drive the progression to urosepsis by jointly analysing bacterial and host characteristics.

METHODS

We analysed 1076 E. coli strains isolated from 825 clinical cases with UTI and/or bacteraemia by whole-genome sequencing (Illumina). Sequence types (STs) were determined via srst2 and capsule loci via fastKaptive. We compared the isolates from urine and blood to confirm clonality. Furthermore, we performed a bacterial genome-wide association study (bGWAS) (pyseer) using bacteraemia as the primary clinical outcome. Clinical data were collected by an electronic patient chart review. We concurrently analysed the association of the most significant bGWAS hit and important patient characteristics with the clinical endpoint bacteraemia using a generalised linear model (GLM). Finally, we designed qPCR primers and probes to detect papGII-positive E. coli strains and prospectively screened E. coli from urine samples (n = 1657) at two healthcare centres.

RESULTS

Our patient cohort had a median age of 75.3 years (range: 18.00-103.1) and was predominantly female (574/825, 69.6%). The bacterial phylogroups B2 (60.6%; 500/825) and D (16.6%; 137/825), which are associated with extraintestinal infections, represent the majority of the strains in our collection, many of which encode a polysaccharide capsule (63.4%; 525/825). The most frequently observed STs were ST131 (12.7%; 105/825), ST69 (11.0%; 91/825), and ST73 (10.2%; 84/825). Of interest, in 12.3% (13/106) of cases, the E. coli pairs in urine and blood were only distantly related. In line with previous bGWAS studies, we identified the gene papGII (p-value < 0.001), which encodes the adhesin subunit of the E. coli P-pilus, to be associated with 'bacteraemia' in our bGWAS. In our GLM, correcting for patient characteristics, papGII remained highly significant (odds ratio = 5.27, 95% confidence interval = [3.48, 7.97], p-value < 0.001). An independent cohort of cases which we screened for papGII-carrying E. coli at two healthcare centres further confirmed the increased relative frequency of papGII-positive strains causing invasive infection, compared to papGII-negative strains (p-value = 0.033, chi-squared test).

CONCLUSIONS

This study builds on previous work linking papGII with invasive infection by showing that it is a major risk factor for progression from UTI to bacteraemia that has diagnostic potential.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common bacterial infections worldwide, often caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Multiple bacterial virulence factors or patient characteristics have been linked separately to progressive, more invasive infections. In this study, we aim to identify pathogen- and patient-specific factors that drive the progression to urosepsis by jointly analysing bacterial and host characteristics.

METHODS

We analysed 1076 E. coli strains isolated from 825 clinical cases with UTI and/or bacteraemia by whole-genome sequencing (Illumina). Sequence types (STs) were determined via srst2 and capsule loci via fastKaptive. We compared the isolates from urine and blood to confirm clonality. Furthermore, we performed a bacterial genome-wide association study (bGWAS) (pyseer) using bacteraemia as the primary clinical outcome. Clinical data were collected by an electronic patient chart review. We concurrently analysed the association of the most significant bGWAS hit and important patient characteristics with the clinical endpoint bacteraemia using a generalised linear model (GLM). Finally, we designed qPCR primers and probes to detect papGII-positive E. coli strains and prospectively screened E. coli from urine samples (n = 1657) at two healthcare centres.

RESULTS

Our patient cohort had a median age of 75.3 years (range: 18.00-103.1) and was predominantly female (574/825, 69.6%). The bacterial phylogroups B2 (60.6%; 500/825) and D (16.6%; 137/825), which are associated with extraintestinal infections, represent the majority of the strains in our collection, many of which encode a polysaccharide capsule (63.4%; 525/825). The most frequently observed STs were ST131 (12.7%; 105/825), ST69 (11.0%; 91/825), and ST73 (10.2%; 84/825). Of interest, in 12.3% (13/106) of cases, the E. coli pairs in urine and blood were only distantly related. In line with previous bGWAS studies, we identified the gene papGII (p-value < 0.001), which encodes the adhesin subunit of the E. coli P-pilus, to be associated with 'bacteraemia' in our bGWAS. In our GLM, correcting for patient characteristics, papGII remained highly significant (odds ratio = 5.27, 95% confidence interval = [3.48, 7.97], p-value < 0.001). An independent cohort of cases which we screened for papGII-carrying E. coli at two healthcare centres further confirmed the increased relative frequency of papGII-positive strains causing invasive infection, compared to papGII-negative strains (p-value = 0.033, chi-squared test).

CONCLUSIONS

This study builds on previous work linking papGII with invasive infection by showing that it is a major risk factor for progression from UTI to bacteraemia that has diagnostic potential.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Medical Microbiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Molecular Medicine
Life Sciences > Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > Genetics
Health Sciences > Genetics (clinical)
Language:English
Date:30 October 2023
Deposited On:05 Apr 2024 14:59
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1756-994X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s13073-023-01243-x
PubMed ID:37904175
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)