Folia Microbiologica

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 335–343 | Cite as

Distribution of pathogenicity island markers and virulence factors in new phylogenetic groups of uropathogenic Escherichia coli isolates

  • Akram Najafi
  • Mojtaba Hasanpour
  • Azam Askary
  • Masoud Aziemzadeh
  • Najmeh Hashemi
Original Article


The present study was aimed at investigating the relationship between the new Clermont’s phylogenetic groups, virulence factors, and pathogenicity island markers (PAIs) among uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) in Iran. This cross-sectional study was carried out on 140 UPEC isolates collected from patients with urinary tract infections in Bushehr, Iran. All isolates were subjected to phylogenetic typing using a new quadruplex-PCR method. The presence of PAI markers and virulence factors in UPEC strains was evaluated by multiplex PCR. The most predominant virulence gene was fimH (85%), followed by iucC (61.4%), papC (38.6%), hlyA (22.1%), cnf-1 (18.6%), afa (10.7%), papG and neuC (each 9.3%), ibeA (3.6%), and sfa/foc (0.7%). The most common phylogenetic group was related to B2 (39.3%), and the least common to A (0.7%). The most prevalent PAI marker was PAI IV536 (77.14%), while markers for PAI III536 (13.57%), PAI IIJ96 (12.86%), and PAI II536 (12.14%) were the least frequent among the UPEC strains. Meanwhile, the PAI IJ96 marker was not detected. There was a significant association between the phylogenetic group B2 and all the studied virulence genes and PAI markers. To our knowledge, this is the first study to compare the relationship between new phylogenetic groups, virulence genes and PAI markers in UPEC strains in Iran. The phylogenetic group B2 was predominantly represented among the studied virulence genes and PAI markers, indicating the preference of particular strains to carry virulence genes.



Urinary tract infections


Escherichia coli


Uropathogenic E. coli


Multi-locus sequence type technique


Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli


Virulence factors


Pathogenicity islands


Funding information

The research leading to these results was funded by the Persian Gulf Marine Biotechnology Research Center, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences under grants agreement numbers 2735 and 5455.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Persian Gulf Marine Biotechnology Research CenterBushehr University of Medical SciencesBushehrIran
  2. 2.Bushehr University of Medical SciencesBushehrIran
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of MedicineBushehr University of Medical SciencesBushehrIran

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