Background: Escherichia coli various strains can cause alarmingly serious infections.
Countries like Pakistan harbour the class of bacteria with one of the highest rates of resistance, but
very little has been done to explore their genetic pool.
Objectives: This study was designed to find out the frequency of virulence genes of Uropathogenic
E. coli and their association with antibiotic resistance along with the evolutionary adaptation of the
selected gene through the phylogenetic tree.
Methods: Isolates from 120 urinary tract infected patients were collected. Antibiotic sensitivity
was detected by the disk diffusion method and DNA extraction was done by the boiling lysis
method followed by PCR-based detection of virulence genes. The final results were analysed using
the chi-square test.
Results: The isolates were found to be least susceptible to nalidixic acid, followed by ampicillin,
cotrimoxazole, cefotaxime, ciprofloxacin, aztreonam, amoxicillin, gentamycin, nitrofurantoin and
imipenem. The iucC was the most common virulence gene among the resistant isolates. About
86% of the collected samples were found to be multi-drug resistant. Statistical analysis revealed a
significant association between the iucC gene and resistance to ampicillin (P=0.03) and amoxicillin
(P=0.04), and also between fimH and resistance to aztreonam (P=0.03).
Conclusion: This study unravels the uncharted virulence genes of UPEC in our community for the
very first time. We report a high frequency of the iucC and fimH virulence genes. This, along with
their positive association with resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics in the studied community,
indicates their important role in the development of complicated UTIs.