MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry as a tool for the discrimination of high-risk Escherichia coli clones from phylogenetic groups B2 (ST131) and D (ST69, ST405, ST393)

 Novais, C. Sousa, J. De Dios Caballero, A. Fernandez-Olmos, J. Lopes, H. Ramos, T. M. Coque, R. Cantón, L. Peixe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Reliable, quick and low-cost methods are needed for the early detection of multidrug-resistant and highly virulent high-risk B2 and D Escherichia coli clones or clonal complexes (HiRCC). Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) seems to have a good discriminatory potential at different subspecies levels, but it was never evaluated for the discrimination of E. coli clones. We assessed the potential of MALDI-TOF MS coupled to multivariate data analysis to discriminate representative E. coli B2 and D HiRCC. Seventy-three E. coli isolates from B2 (including ST131 and B2 non-ST131 clones) and D (ST69, ST393, ST405) with variable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns, origins and dates (1980-2010) were tested. MS spectra were acquired from independent extracts obtained from different plate cultures in two different Microflex LT MALDI-TOF devices (Bruker) after a standard extraction procedure. MALDI-TOF MS fingerprinting analysis revealed a good discriminatory ability between the four HiRCC analysed (ST131, ST69, ST405, ST393) and between B2 ST131 and other B2 non-ST131 isolates. Clusters defined by MALDI-TOF MS were consistent with the clonal complexes assigned by multilocus sequence typing (MLST), although differences were detected regarding the composition of clusters obtained by the comparison of PFGE profiles. We demonstrate, for the first time, that characteristic mass fingerprints of different E. coli HiRCC are sufficiently discriminatory and robust to enable their differentiation by MALDI-TOF MS, which might represent a promising tool for the optimisation of infection control, individual patient management and large-scale epidemiological studies of public health relevance. The good correlation between phenotypic and genotypic features further corroborates phylogenetic relationships delineated by MLST.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1391-1399
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


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