July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics reveals the diversity of restriction-modification systems and DNA methylation sites in Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterial pathogen that is found in a wide variety of anthropogenic and natural environments. Genome sequencing technologies are rapidly becoming a powerful tool in facilitating our understanding of how genotype, classification phenotypes, and virulence phenotypes interact to predict the health risks of individual bacterial isolates. Currently, 57 closed L. monocytogenes genomes are publicly available, representing three of the four phylogenetic lineages, and they suggest that L. monocytogenes has high genomic synteny. This study contributes an additional 15 closed L. monocytogenes genomes that were used to determine the associations between the genome and methylome with host invasion magnitude. In contrast to previous findings, large chromosomal inversions and rearrangements were detected in five isolates at the chromosome terminus and within rRNA genes, including a previously undescribed inversion within rRNA-encoding regions. Each isolate’s epigenome contained highly diverse methyltransferase recognition sites, even within the same serotype and methylation pattern. Eleven strains contained a single chromosomally encoded methyltransferase, one strain contained two methylation systems (one system on a plasmid), and three strains exhibited no methylation, despite the occurrence of methyltransferase genes. In three isolates a new, unknown DNA modification was observed in addition to diverse methylation patterns, accompanied by a novel methylation system. Neither chromosome rearrangement nor strain-specific patterns of epigenome modification observed within virulence genes were correlated with serotype designation, clonal complex, or in vitro infectivity. These data suggest that genome diversity is larger than previously considered in L. monocytogenes and that as more genomes are sequenced, additional structure and methylation novelty will be observed in this organism.Listeria monocytogenes is the causative agent of listeriosis, a disease which manifests as gastroenteritis, meningoencephalitis, and abortion. Among Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, and Listeria-causing the most prevalent foodborne illnesses-infection by L. monocytogenes carries the highest mortality rate. The ability of L. monocytogenes to regulate its response to various harsh environments enables its persistence and transmission. Small-scale comparisons of L. monocytogenes focusing solely on genome contents reveal a highly syntenic genome yet fail to address the observed diversity in phenotypic regulation. This study provides a large-scale comparison of 302 L. monocytogenes isolates, revealing the importance of the epigenome and restriction-modification systems as major determinants of L. monocytogenes phylogenetic grouping and subsequent phenotypic expression. Further examination of virulence genes of select outbreak strains reveals an unprecedented diversity in methylation statuses despite high degrees of genome conservation. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequences of 12 isolates of Listeria monocytogenes belonging to serotypes 1/2a, 1/2b, and 4b obtained from food products and food-processing environments in Canada.

Listeria monocytogenes is the etiological agent for an often fatal foodborne illness known as listeriosis. Here, we present the complete genome sequences of 12 L. monocytogenes isolates representing the three most common serotypes of this pathogen (1/2a, 1/2b, and 4b), collected in Canada from different food products and environmental sources.© Crown copyright 2017.


July 7, 2019  |  

Whole genome and core genome multilocus sequence typing and single nucleotide polymorphism analyses of Listeria monocytogenes associated with an outbreak linked to cheese, United States, 2013.

Epidemiological findings of a listeriosis outbreak in 2013 implicated Hispanic-style cheese produced by Company A, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) were performed on clinical isolates and representative isolates collected from Company A cheese and environmental samples during the investigation. The results strengthened the evidence for cheese as the vehicle. Surveillance sampling and WGS three months later revealed that the equipment purchased by Company B from Company A yielded an environmental isolate highly similar to all outbreak isolates. The whole genome and core genome multilocus sequence typing and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses were compared to demonstrate the maximum discriminatory power obtained by using multiple analyses, which were needed to differentiate outbreak-associated isolates from a PFGE-indistinguishable isolate collected in a non-implicated food source in 2012. This unrelated isolate differed from the outbreak isolates by only 7 to 14 SNPs, and as a result, minimum spanning tree by the whole genome analyses and certain variant calling approach and phylogenetic algorithm for core genome-based analyses could not provide the differentiation between unrelated isolates. Our data also suggest that SNP/allele counts should always be combined with WGS clustering generated by phylogenetically meaningful algorithms on sufficient number of isolates, and SNP/allele threshold alone is not sufficient evidence to delineate an outbreak. The putative prophages were conserved across all the outbreak isolates. All outbreak isolates belonged to clonal complex 5 and serotype 1/2b, had an identical inlA sequence, which did not have premature stop codons.IMPORTANCE In this outbreak, multiple analytical approaches were used for maximum discriminatory power. A PFGE-matched, epidemiologically unrelated isolate had high genetic similarity to the outbreak-associated isolates, with as few as only 7 SNP differences. Therefore, the SNP/allele threshold should not be used as the only evidence to define the scope of an outbreak. It is critical that the SNP/allele counts be complemented by WGS clustering generated by phylogenetically meaningful algorithms to distinguish outbreak-associated isolates from epidemiologically unrelated isolates. Careful selection of a variant calling approach and phylogenetic algorithm is critical for core genome-based analyses. The whole genome-based analyses were able to construct the highly resolved phylogeny needed to support the findings of the outbreak investigation. Ultimately, epidemiologic evidence and multiple WGS analyses should be combined to increase the confidence in outbreak investigations. Copyright © 2017 Chen et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Full-genome sequence of Listeria monocytogenes strain H34, isolated from a newborn with sepsis in Uruguay.

The foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes causes severe disease mainly in the vulnerable populations of the young, old, pregnant, and immunocompromised. Here, we present the genome sequence of L. monocytogenes H34, a serotype 1/2b, lineage I, sequence type 489 (ST489) strain, isolated from a neonatal sepsis case in Uruguay. Copyright © 2017 Muchaamba et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Benzalkonium tolerance genes and outcome in Listeria monocytogenes meningitis.

Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen that can cause meningitis. The listerial genotype ST6 has been linked to increasing rates of unfavourable outcome over time. We investigated listerial genetic variation and the relation with clinical outcome in meningitis.We sequenced 96 isolates from adults with listerial meningitis included in two prospective nationwide cohort studies by whole genome sequencing, and evaluated associations between bacterial genetic variation and clinical outcome. We validated these results by screening listerial genotypes of 445 cerebrospinal fluid and blood isolates from patients over a 30-year period from the Dutch national surveillance cohort.We identified a bacteriophage, phiLMST6 co-occurring with a novel plasmid, pLMST6, in ST6 isolates to be associated with unfavourable outcome in patients (p 2.83e-05). The plasmid carries a benzalkonium chloride tolerance gene, emrC, conferring decreased susceptibility to disinfectants used in the food-processing industry. Isolates harbouring emrC were growth inhibited at higher levels of benzalkonium chloride (median 60 mg/L versus 15 mg/L; p <0.001), and had higher MICs for amoxicillin and gentamicin compared with isolates without emrC (both p <0.001). Transformation of pLMST6 into naive strains led to benzalkonium chloride tolerance and higher MICs for gentamicin.These results show that a novel plasmid, carrying the efflux transporter emrC, is associated with increased incidence of ST6 listerial meningitis in the Netherlands. Suggesting increased disease severity, our findings warrant consideration of disinfectants used in the food-processing industry that select for resistance mechanisms and may, inadvertently, lead to increased risk of poor disease outcome. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Spontaneous loss of virulence in natural populations of Listeria monocytogenes.

The pathogenesis of Listeria monocytogenes depends on the ability of this bacterium to escape from the phagosome of the host cells via the action of the pore-forming toxin listeriolysin O (LLO). Expression of the LLO-encoding gene (hly) requires the transcriptional activator PrfA, and both hly and prfA genes are essential for L. monocytogenes virulence. Here, we used the hemolytic activity of LLO as a phenotypic marker to screen for spontaneous virulence-attenuating mutations in L. monocytogenes Sixty nonhemolytic isolates were identified among a collection of 57,820 confirmed L. monocytogenes strains isolated from a variety of sources (0.1%). In most cases (56/60; 93.3%), the nonhemolytic phenotype resulted from nonsense, missense, or frameshift mutations in prfA Five strains carried hly mutations leading to a single amino acid substitution (G299V) or a premature stop codon causing strong virulence attenuation in mice. In one strain, both hly and gshF (encoding a glutathione synthase required for full PrfA activity) were missing due to genomic rearrangements likely caused by a transposable element. The PrfA/LLO loss-of-function (PrfA(-)/LLO(-)) mutants belonged to phylogenetically diverse clades of L. monocytogenes, and most were identified among nonclinical strains (57/60). Consistent with the rare occurrence of loss-of-virulence mutations, we show that prfA and hly are under purifying selection. Although occurring at a low frequency, PrfA(-)/LLO(-) mutational events in L. monocytogenes lead to niche restriction and open an evolutionary path for obligate saprophytism in this facultative intracellular pathogen. Copyright © 2017 Maury et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Listeria monocytogenes in stone fruits linked to a multistate outbreak: enumeration of cells and whole-genome sequencing.

In 2014, the identification of stone fruits contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes led to the subsequent identification of a multistate outbreak. Simultaneous detection and enumeration of L. monocytogenes were performed on 105 fruits, each weighing 127 to 145 g, collected from 7 contaminated lots. The results showed that 53.3% of the fruits yielded L. monocytogenes (lower limit of detection, 5 CFU/fruit), and the levels ranged from 5 to 2,850 CFU/fruit, with a geometric mean of 11.3 CFU/fruit (0.1 CFU/g of fruit). Two serotypes, IVb-v1 and 1/2b, were identified by a combination of PCR- and antiserum-based serotyping among isolates from fruits and their packing environment; certain fruits contained a mixture of both serotypes. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis clustered isolates from two case-patients with the serotype IVb-v1 isolates and distinguished outbreak-associated isolates from pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE)-matched, but epidemiologically unrelated, clinical isolates. The outbreak-associated isolates differed by up to 42 SNPs. All but one serotype 1/2b isolate formed another WGS cluster and differed by up to 17 SNPs. Fully closed genomes of isolates from the stone fruits were used as references to maximize the resolution and to increase our confidence in prophage analysis. Putative prophages were conserved among isolates of each WGS cluster. All serotype IVb-v1 isolates belonged to singleton sequence type 382 (ST382); all but one serotype 1/2b isolate belonged to clonal complex 5.WGS proved to be an excellent tool to assist in the epidemiologic investigation of listeriosis outbreaks. The comparison at the genome level contributed to our understanding of the genetic diversity and variations among isolates involved in an outbreak or isolates associated with food and environmental samples from one facility. Fully closed genomes increased our confidence in the identification and comparison of accessory genomes. The diversity among the outbreak-associated isolates and the inclusion of PFGE-matched, but epidemiologically unrelated, isolates demonstrate the high resolution of WGS. The prevalence and enumeration data could contribute to our further understanding of the risk associated with Listeria monocytogenes contamination, especially among high-risk populations. Copyright © 2016 Chen et al.


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