Carbapenem resistance mediated by plasmid-borne Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemases (KPC) is an emerging problem of significant clinical importance in Gram-negative bacteria. Multiple KPC gene variants (blaKPC) have been reported, with KPC-2 (blaKPC-2) and KPC-3 (blaKPC-3) associated with epidemic outbreaks in New York City and various international settings. Here, we describe the development of a multiplex real-time PCR assay using molecular beacons (MB-PCR) for rapid and accurate identification of blaKPC variants. The assay consists of six molecular beacons and two oligonucleotide primer pairs, allowing for detection and classification of all currently described blaKPC variants (blaKPC-2 to bla KPC-11). The MB-PCR detection limit was 5 to 40 DNA copies per reaction and 4 CFU per reaction using laboratory-prepared samples. The MB-PCR probes were highly specific for each blaKPC variant, and cross-reactivity was not observed using DNA isolated from several bacterial species. A total of 457 clinical Gram-negative isolates were successfully characterized by our MB-PCR assay, with blaKPC-3 and bla KPC-2 identified as the most common types in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan region. The MB-PCR assay described herein is rapid, sensitive, and specific and should be useful for understanding the ongoing evolution of carbapenem resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. As novel blaKPC variants continue to emerge, the MB-PCR assay can be modified in response to epidemiologic developments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)