GERMS, vol.12, no.2, pp.214-230, 2022 (ESCI)
© GERMS 2022.Introduction The virulence-associated gene (VAG) repertoire and clonal organization of uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) strains is influenced by host demographic, geographic locale, and the setting of urinary tract infection (UTI). Nevertheless, a direct comparison of these features among Australian and Turkish UPEC remains unexplored. Accordingly, this study investigated the clonal composition and virulence characteristics of a collection of UPEC isolated from Australian and Turkish UTI patients. Methods A total of 715 UPEC strains isolated from Australian (n=361) and Turkish (n=354) children and adults with hospital (HA)-and community-acquired (CA)-UTIs were included in this study. Typing of the strains using RAPD-PCR and PhPlate fingerprinting grouped all strains into 25 clonal groups (CGs). CG representatives were phylogrouped and screened for the presence of 18 VAGs associated with extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli. Results Turkish UPEC strains were characterized by high clonal diversity and predominance of the phylogroup D, while few distinct clonal groups with phylogenetic group B2 backgrounds dominated among the Australian strains. Twelve identical CGs were shared between ≥1 patient group from either country. Australian strains, particularly those isolated from children with HA-UTI, showed higher virulence potential than their Turkish counterparts, carrying significantly more genes associated with adhesion, iron acquisition and capsule biosynthesis. Conclusions This study identified identical CGs of UPEC causing HA-and CA-UTIs among Australian and Turkish UTI patients. These CGs frequently carried VAGs associated with adhesion, iron acquisition, immune evasion, and toxin production, which may contribute to their ability to disseminate internationally and to cause UTI.