IKMB scientists decode the genome of the “Kiel pathogen” 4MRGN

February 17, 2015 - 12:45

For the first time scientists of Kiel University (CAU) were able to decode the genome of the   local outbreak strain Acinetobacter baumannii. The team consisted of experts from the Institute for Infection Medicine and the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology (IKMB), the Medical Faculty of CAU and the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH). They sequenced 33 samples of overall 25 patients, in whom the pathogen had been detected before, and additionally samples from the environment of the latest outbreak in Kiel.

“We found, that all infections go back to the same patient”, says Professor Andre Franke, IKMB. The scientists could confirm that the the pathogen is multi-resistant against most antibiotics and seems to develop first defense mechanisms also against the last effectively working antibiotics, Colistin.

The sequencing data clearly proofed that the “Kiel pathogen” is a form of the Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii line IC2 (CC92 Oxford), which occurs most overall in the world. In Germany this strain has been described for an outbreak in 2009 in the area of Dortmund and 2010 /2011 in the area of Cologne. A similar strain has also been described in Malaysia in 2012. Whether there is a connection between the different outbreaks remains to be identified.

“The excellent teamwork with different specialists from all over Germany has been very special and important within this project”, says Franke. Scientists from the chair of Bioinformatics in Saarbrücken (Prof. Andreas Keller), the University Hospital Giessen and Marburg UKGM (Professor Trinad Chakraborty), the University Hospital Münster (Professor Dag Harmsen), the National Reference Laboratory for Multidrug-resistant Gram-negative Bacteria for Germany, Bochum (Dr. Martin Kaase) as well as the Acinetobacter expert Professor Harald Seifert, University Hospital Cologne were involved.

The Genome Center Kiel, which is installed at the IKMB and located at the Center of Molecular Life Sciences at Kiel University, is one of the biggest academic sequencing centers in Europe. During 2014 more than 10,000 bacterial genomes and several hundred of human germline genomes and tumors have been decoded here. The scientists in Kiel aim at intensifying the co-operation with the clinicians for quicker and more precise diagnostics and evidence-based medicine.

press release 17.2.2015 (sorry, German only)