Main Article Content
Nocardiosis is a rare but life-threatening infection caused by aerobic Actinomycetes of the genus Nocardia particularly affecting immunocompromised hosts. The identification of Nocardia ssp. and antibiotic susceptibility testing by standard microbiological methods are incomplete and molecular techniques may improve diagnostics. We studied 39 Nocardia strains isolated from 33 patients between 2000 and 2018. Twenty-four patients (72.7 %) were immunocompromised. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) revealed a broad taxonomic range of those isolates spanning 13 different species, including four strains that belonged to three novel species based on average nucleotide identity (ANI < 95 % with currently available genome sequences). 16S rRNA gene analyses mirrored WGS results. Conventional MALDI-TOF analysis correctly identified 29 isolates at the species level (74.4 %). Our advanced protocol with formic acid and acetonitrile treatment increased identification to 35 isolates (89.7 %). Antibiotic resistance was tested using both a microdilution method and MIC strip testing. Results were in good concordance with an overall trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (SXT) resistance rate of 13.5 %. WGS of a SXT resistant N. farcinica isolate showed a deletion of several amino acids in a homolog of dihydropteroate synthase (FolP2) that was not seen in sensitive members of this species. Diversity of Nocardia isolates was high and involved many different species, suggesting that this taxon has broadly distributed mechanisms for infecting individuals. Widely applicable diagnostic methods including MALDI-TOF and 16S rRNA gene analyses correctly identified most strains. WGS additionally revealed molecular insights into SXT resistance mechanisms of clinical Nocardia isolates highlighting the potential application of (meta)genomic-based diagnostics in the future.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish in this journal agree to the following terms:
- The authors keep the copyright and grant the journal the right of first publication under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, CC BY 4.0. This licencse permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited.
- The use of general descriptive names, trade names, trademarks, and so forth in this publication, even if not specifically identified, does not imply that these names are not protected by the relevant laws and regulations.
- Because the advice and information in this journal are believed to be true and accurate at the time of publication, neither the authors, the editors, nor the publisher accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions presented in the publication. The publisher makes no guarantee, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein.
- The authors can enter into additional contracts for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version by citing the initial publication in this journal (e.g. publishing in an institutional repository or in a book).