Rapid detection and statistical differentiation of KPC gene variants in gram-negative pathogens by use of high-resolution melting and screenclust analyses

Amanda L. Roth, Nancy D. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


In the United States, the production of the Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) is an important mechanism of carbapenem resistance in Gram-negative pathogens. Infections with KPC-producing organisms are associated with increased morbidity and mortality; therefore, the rapid detection of KPC-producing pathogens is critical in patient care and infection control. We developed a real-time PCR assay complemented with traditional high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis, as well as statistically based genotyping, using the Rotor-Gene ScreenClust HRM software to both detect the presence of bla KPC and differentiate between KPC-2-like and KPC-3-like alleles. A total of 166 clinical isolates of Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Acinetobacter baumannii with various β-lactamase susceptibility patterns were tested in the validation of this assay; 66 of these organisms were known to produce the KPC β-lactamase. The real-time PCR assay was able to detect the presence of blaKPC in all 66 of these clinical isolates (100% sensitivity and specificity). HRM analysis demonstrated that 26 had KPC-2-like melting peak temperatures, while 40 had KPC-3-like melting peak temperatures. Sequencing of 21 amplified products confirmed the melting peak results, with 9 isolates carrying blaKPC-2 and 12 isolates carrying blaKPC-3. This PCR/HRM assay can identify KPC-producing Gram-negative pathogens in as little as 3 h after isolation of pure colonies and does not require post-PCR sample manipulation for HRM analysis, and ScreenClust analysis easily distinguishes blaKPC-2-like and blaKPC-3-like alleles. Therefore, this assay is a rapid method to identify the presence of blaKPC enzymes in Gram-negative pathogens that can be easily integrated into busy clinical microbiology laboratories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-65
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)

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