Helicobacter pylori Infections in the Bronx, New York: Surveying antibiotic susceptibility and strain lineage by whole-genome sequencing

Rajagopalan Saranathan, Michael H. Levi, Alice R. Wattam, Adel Malek, Emmanuel Asare, Daniel S. Behin, Debra H. Pan, William R. Jacobs, Wendy A. Szymczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The emergence of drug resistance in Helicobacter pylori has resulted in a greater need for susceptibility-guided treatment. While the alleles associated with resistance to clarithromycin and levofloxacin have been defined, there are limited data regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying resistance to other antimicrobials. Using H. pylori isolates from 42 clinical specimens, we compared phenotypic and whole-genome sequencing (WGS)-based detection of resistance. Phenotypic resistance correlated with the presence of alleles of 23S rRNA (A2142G/A2143G) for clarithromycin (kappa coefficient, 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.67 to 1.0) and gyrA (N87I/N87K/D91Y/D91N/D91G/D99N) for levofloxacin (kappa coefficient, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.77 to 1.0). Phenotypic resistance to amoxicillin in three isolates correlated with mutations in pbp1, pbp2, and/or pbp3 within coding regions near known amoxicillin binding motifs. All isolates were phenotypically susceptible to tetracycline, although four bore a mutation in 16S rRNA (A926G). For metronidazole, nonsense mutations and R16H substitutions in rdxA correlated with phenotypic resistance (kappa coefficient, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.56 to 0.96). Previously identified mutations in the rpoB rifampin resistance-determining region (RRDR) were not present, but 14 novel mutations outside the RRDR were found in rifampin-resistant isolates. WGS also allowed for strain lineage determination, which may be important for future studies in associating precise MICs with specific resistance alleles. In summary, WGS allows for broad analyses of H. pylori isolates, and our findings support the use of WGS for the detection of clarithromycin and levofloxacin resistance. Additional studies are warranted to better define mutations conferring resistance to amoxicillin, tetracycline, and rifampin, but combinatorial analyses for rdxA gene truncations and R16H mutations have utility for determining metronidazole resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01591-19
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Amoxicillin
  • Antimicrobial susceptibility testing
  • Clarithromycin
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Levofloxacin
  • Lineage
  • Metronidazole
  • Rifampin
  • Tetracyclines
  • Whole-genome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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