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Atypical Listeria monocytogenes Serotype 4b Strains Harboring a Lineage II-Specific Gene Cassette
- Lee, Sangmi, Ward, Todd J., Graves, Lewis M., Wolf, Leslie A., Sperry, Kate, Siletzky, Robin M., Kathariou, Sophia
- Applied and environmental microbiology 2012 v.78 no.3 pp. 660-667
- DNA, Listeria monocytogenes, etiological agents, foodborne illness, gene transfer, genes, genotyping, haplotypes, loci, methylation, nucleic acid hybridization, polymerase chain reaction, sequence analysis, serotypes, North Carolina
- Listeria monocytogenes is the etiological agent of listeriosis, a severe food-borne illness. The population of L. monocytogenes is divided into four lineages (I to IV), and serotype 4b in lineage I has been involved in numerous outbreaks. Several serotype 4b epidemic-associated clonal groups (ECI, -II, and -Ia) have been identified. In this study, we characterized a panel of strains of serotype 4b that produced atypical results with a serotype-specific multiplex PCR and possessed the lmo0734 to lmo0739 gene cassette that had been thought to be specific to lineage II. The cassette was harbored in a genomically syntenic locus in these isolates and in lineage II strains. Three distinct clonal groups (groups 1 to 3) were identified among these isolates based on single-nucleotide polymorphism-based multilocus genotyping (MLGT) and DNA hybridization data. Groups 1 and 2 had MLGT haplotypes previously encountered among clinical isolates and were composed of clinical isolates from multiple states in the United States. In contrast, group 3 consisted of clinical and environmental isolates solely from North Carolina and exhibited a novel haplotype. In addition, all group 3 isolates had DNA that was resistant to MboI, suggesting methylation of adenines at GATC sites. Sequence analysis of the lmo0734 to lmo0739 gene cassette from two strains (group 1 and group 3) revealed that the genes were highly conserved (>99% identity). The data suggest relatively recent horizontal gene transfer from lineage II L. monocytogenes into L. monocytogenes serotype 4b and subsequent dissemination among at least three distinct clonal groups of L. monocytogenes serotype 4b, one of which exhibits restrictions in regional distribution.