Increase in bacteraemia cases in the East Midlands region of the UK due to MDR Escherichia coli ST73: high levels of genomic and plasmid diversity in causative isolates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Fahad Alhashash
  • Xiaohui Wang
  • Konrad Paszkiewicz
  • Mathew Diggle
  • Zhiyong Zong

Colleges, School and Institutes


OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to determine the population structure of Escherichia coli ST73 isolated from human bacteraemia and urinary tract infections.

METHODS: The genomes of 22 E. coli ST73 isolates were sequenced using the Illumina HiSeq platform. High-resolution SNP typing was used to create a phylogenetic tree. Comparative genomics were also performed using a pangenome approach. In silico and S1-PFGE plasmid profiling was conducted, and isolates were checked for their ability to survive exposure to human serum.

RESULTS: E. coli ST73 isolates circulating in clinically unrelated episodes show a high degree of diversity at a whole-genome level, but exhibit conservation in gene content, particularly in virulence-associated gene carriage. The isolates also contain a highly diverse plasmid pool that confers MDR via carriage of CTX-M genes.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data show that a rise in incidence of MDR E. coli ST73 clinical isolates is not due to a circulating outbreak strain as in E. coli ST131. Rather the ST73 circulating strains are distantly related and carry a diverse set of resistance plasmids. This suggests that the evolutionary events behind emergence of drug-resistant E. coli differ between lineages.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-343
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number2
Early online date30 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016