Elucidating constraints for differentiation of major human Klebsiella pneumoniae clones using MALDI-TOF MS

C. Rodrigues, Novais, C. Sousa, H. Ramos, T. M. Coque, R. Cantón, J. A. Lopes, L. Peixe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The establishment of matrix-assisted laser desorption time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) in routine microbial identification boosted many developments towards high-throughput applications, including bacterial typing. However, results are still controversial for different bacterial species. We aim to evaluate the suitability of MALDI-TOF MS for typing clinically relevant multidrug resistant (MDR) Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. pneumoniae clones using routine conditions and a previously validated chemometric analysis workflow. Mass spectra of 83 K. pneumoniae clinical isolates representing major human MDR clones [11 sequence types (STs), 22 PFGE-types] recovered in Portugal and Spain during outbreaks and non-outbreak situations (2003–2012) were obtained from cell extracts (CE) and intact cells (IC), and analysed with different chemometric tools. We observed a highly consistent peak pattern among isolates from different clones either with CE or IC, suggesting a high degree of conservation of biomolecules analysed (a large part corresponding to ribosomal proteins). Moreover, the low degree of agreement between MALDI-TOF MS and other methods (from 34.9 % to 43.4 % of correct assignments for CE and from 40.8 % to 70.1 % for IC) corroborates the low discriminatory potential of the technique at infraspecies level. Our results suggest a low discriminatory power of MALDI-TOF MS for clinically relevant MDR K. pneumoniae clones and highlight the need of developing tools for high-resolution typing in this species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-386
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


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