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New paper on updated capsule and LPS locus typing for the Klebsiella pneumoniae species complex with Kaptive 2.0 is out on bioRxiv! Check it out at:


The outer polysaccharide capsule and lipopolysaccharide antigens are key targets for novel control strategies targeting Klebsiella pneumoniae and related taxa from the K. pneumoniae species complex (KpSC), including vaccines, phage and monoclonal antibody therapies. Given the importance and growing interest in these highly diverse surface antigens, we had previously developed Kaptive, a tool for rapidly identifying and typing capsule (K) and outer lipopolysaccharide (O) loci from whole genome sequence data. Here, we report two significant updates, now freely available in Kaptive 2.0 (; i) the addition of 16 novel K locus sequences to the K locus reference database following an extensive search of >17,000 KpSC genomes; and ii) enhanced O locus typing to enable prediction of the clinically relevant O2 antigen (sub)types, for which the genetic determinants have been recently described. We applied Kaptive 2.0 to a curated dataset of >12,000 public KpSC genomes to explore for the first time the distribution of predicted O (sub)types across species, sampling niches and clones, which highlighted key differences in the distributions that warrant further investigation. As the uptake of genomic surveillance approaches continues to expand globally, the application of Kaptive 2.0 will generate novel insights essential for the design of effective KpSC control strategies.

Significance as a BioResource to the community Klebsiella pneumoniae is a major cause of bacterial healthcare associated infections globally, with increasing rates of antimicrobial resistance, including strains with resistance to the drugs of last resort. The latter have therefore been flagged as priority pathogens for the development of novel control strategies.

K. pneumoniae produce two key surface antigen sugars (capsular polysaccharide and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)) that are immunogenic and targets for novel controls such as a vaccines and phage therapy. However, there is substantial antigenic diversity in the population and relatively little is understood about the distribution of antigen types geographically and among strains causing different types of infections. Whereas laboratory-based antigen typing is difficult and rarely performed, information about the relevant synthesis loci can be readily extracted from whole genome sequence data. We have previously developed Kaptive, a freely available tool for rapid typing of Klebsiella capsule and LPS loci from genome sequences.

Kaptive is now used widely in the global research community and has facilitated new insights into Klebsiella capsule and LPS diversity. Here we present an update to Kaptive facilitating i) the identification of 16 additional novel capsule loci, and ii) the prediction of immunologically relevant LPS O2 antigen subtypes. These updates will enable enhanced sero-epidemiological surveillance for K. pneumoniae, to inform the design of vaccines and other novel Klebsiella control strategies.

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