Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2023 Oct 17. doi: 10.1007/s10482-023-01869-2. Online ahead of print.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the top-listed pathogens in nosocomial infection. It is notorious for its complicated virulence system and rapid adaptability to drugs or antimicrobials. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the prevalence of sixteen virulence genes in four groups including type III secretion system, biofilm formation, extracellular toxin biosynthesis and enzymes amongst 209 clinical Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains. We investigated the different distribution patterns of virulence genotypes based on carbapenem-resistant phenotype or the carriage of carbapenemase genes. The detection rate of each virulence gene varied greatly. phzM and plcN were detected in all collected strains, while pilB and exoU were only carried by a small portion of isolates (6.7% and 16.3%). Additionally, the number of genotypes observed in each group of examined virulence genes ranged from 4 to 8. Only the distribution of genotypes of type III secretion system showed statistical difference between carbapenem-mediated or carbapenem-resistant and carbapenem-sensitive strains. The virulence genotype of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was possibly interrelated to its resistance mechanism. Further research suggested that one particular TTSS genotype exhibited higher ratio in carbapenemase-producing strains and exoS was less frequently detected in CRPA strains carrying carbapenemase gene. Generally, the significant genetic diversity of virulence genes amongst Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains was highlighted in this study. Specific TTSS genotypes were associated with carbapenem-resistance. In particular, certain incompatibility might exist between exoS and carbapenemase genes, which provided valuable information for further understanding the relationship between carbapenem resistance and virulence.