Key evolutionary events in the emergence of a globally disseminated, carbapenem resistant clone in the Escherichia coli ST410 lineage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Yu Feng
  • Lu Liu
  • Ji Lin
  • Ke Ma
  • Haiyan Long
  • Li Wei
  • Yi Xie
  • Zhiyong Zong

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Center for Pathogen Research, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
  • Department of Infection Control, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
  • Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.


There is an urgent need to understand the global epidemiological landscape of carbapenem-resistant Escherichia coli (CREC). Here we provide combined genomic and phenotypic characterization of the emergence of a CREC clone from the ST410 lineage. We show that the clone expands with a single plasmid, within which there is frequent switching of the carbapenemase gene type between blaNDM and blaOXA-181 with no impact on plasmid stability or fitness. A search for clone-specific traits identified unique alleles of genes involved in adhesion and iron acquisition, which have been imported via recombination. These recombination-derived allelic switches had no impact on virulence in a simple infection model, but decreased efficiency in binding to abiotic surfaces and greatly enhanced fitness in iron limited conditions. Together our data show a footprint for evolution of a CREC clone, whereby recombination drives new alleles into the clone which provide a competitive advantage in colonizing mammalian hosts.


Original languageEnglish
Article number322
Number of pages13
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2019