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Evaluation of Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry for Molecular Typing of Acinetobacter baumannii in Comparison with Orthogonal Methods

Busby, Eloise J; Doyle, Ronan M; Leboreiro Babe, Clara; Harris, Kathryn A; Mack, Damien; Méndez-Cervantes, Gema; O'Sullivan, Denise M; ... Wey, Emmanuel Q; + view all (2023) Evaluation of Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry for Molecular Typing of Acinetobacter baumannii in Comparison with Orthogonal Methods. Microbiol Spectrum , Article e0499522. 10.1128/spectrum.04995-22. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Colonization and subsequent health care-associated infection (HCAI) with Acinetobacter baumannii are a concern for vulnerable patient groups within the hospital setting. Outbreaks involving multidrug-resistant strains are associated with increased patient morbidity and mortality and poorer overall outcomes. Reliable molecular typing methods can help to trace transmission routes and manage outbreaks. In addition to methods deployed by reference laboratories, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) may assist by making initial in-house judgments on strain relatedness. However, limited studies on method reproducibility exist for this application. We applied MALDI-TOF MS typing to A. baumannii isolates associated with a nosocomial outbreak and evaluated different methods for data analysis. In addition, we compared MALDI-TOF MS with whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) as orthogonal methods to further explore their resolution for bacterial strain typing. A related subgroup of isolates consistently clustered separately from the main outbreak group by all investigated methods. This finding, combined with epidemiological data from the outbreak, indicates that these methods identified a separate transmission event unrelated to the main outbreak. However, the MALDI-TOF MS upstream approach introduced measurement variability impacting method reproducibility and limiting its reliability as a standalone typing method. Availability of in-house typing methods with well-characterized sources of measurement uncertainty could assist with rapid and dependable confirmation (or denial) of suspected transmission events. This work highlights some of the steps to be improved before such tools can be fully integrated into routine diagnostic service workflows for strain typing. IMPORTANCE Managing the transmission of antimicrobial resistance necessitates reliable methods for tracking outbreaks. We compared the performance of MALDI-TOF MS with orthogonal approaches for strain typing, including WGS and FTIR, for Acinetobacter baumannii isolates correlated with a health care-associated infection (HCAI) event. Combined with epidemiological data, all methods investigated identified a group of isolates that were temporally and spatially linked to the outbreak, yet potentially attributed to a separate transmission event. This may have implications for guiding infection control strategies during an outbreak. However, the technical reproducibility of MALDI-TOF MS needs to be improved for it to be employed as a standalone typing method, as different stages of the experimental workflow introduced bias influencing interpretation of biomarker peak data. Availability of in-house methods for strain typing of bacteria could improve infection control practices following increased reports of outbreaks of antimicrobial-resistant organisms during the COVID-19 pandemic, related to sessional usage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Type: Article
Title: Evaluation of Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry for Molecular Typing of Acinetobacter baumannii in Comparison with Orthogonal Methods
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1128/spectrum.04995-22
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.04995-22
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Acinetobacter, MALDI-TOF MS, molecular subtyping
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10169774
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