Escherichia coli ST131 is a pandemic clone with high antibiotic resistance, and it is a major causative agent of urinary tract infection (UTI) and bloodstream infections. This study evaluated the distribution and expression of virulence genes and genotyping of E. coli O25b/ST131 by Multi-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) method among UTI in patients at Tehran hospitals, Iran.
A total of 107 E. coli isolates were collected from UTI patients. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the pabB gene was used to identify E. coli O25b/ST131 and the prevalence of sat and hlyA virulence genes was also analyzed. The microtiter method quantified biofilm formation ability in E. coli O25b/ST131. The Real-Time PCR (qRT-PCR) was performed to evaluate the expression of sat and hlyA genes. Finally, MLVA was performed for E. coli O25b/ST131 genotyping by targeting seven tandem repeats. SPSS-16 software was used for statistical analysis. Molecular study showed that 71% of isolates carried the pabB gene and were considered E. coli O25b/ST131 strains. Also, 45.8% and 17.8% of isolates carried sat and hlyA genes, respectively. The 57.9% isolates had biofilm formation ability. Expression of the studied virulence genes showed an increase in strong biofilm producing E. coli O25b/ST131 strains. A total of 76 (100%) E. coli O25b/ST131 strains were typed by the MLVA method.
High prevalence of E. coli O25b/ST131 isolates in UTI patients can be a serious warning to the treatment due to the high antibiotic resistance rate, expression of virulence genes, and biofilm formation.