Whole phage genomes can be sequenced readily using one or a combination of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. One of the most recently developed NGS platforms, the so-called Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing approach provided by the PacBio RS platform, is particularly useful in providing complete (i.e., un-gapped) genome sequences, but differs from other technologies in that the platform also allows for downstream analysis to identify nucleotides that have been modified by DNA methylation. Here, we describe the methodological approach for the detection of genomic methylation motifs by means of SMRT sequencing.
Among Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157:H7 strains, those producing Stx2a cause more severe diseases. Atypical STEC O157:H7 strains showing a ß-glucuronidase-positive phenotype (GP STEC O157:H7) have rarely been isolated from humans, mostly from persons with asymptomatic or mild infections; Stx2a-producing strains have not been reported. We isolated, from a patient with bloody diarrhea, a GP STEC O157:H7 strain (PV15-279) that produces Stx2a in addition to Stx1a and Stx2c. Genomic comparison with other STEC O157 strains revealed that PV15-279 recently emerged from the stx1a/stx2c-positive GP STEC O157:H7 clone circulating in Japan. Major virulence genes are shared between typical (ß-glucuronidase-negative) and GP STEC O157:H7 strains, and the Stx2-producing ability of PV15-279 is comparable to that of typical STEC O157:H7 strains; therefore, PV15-279 presents a virulence potential similar to that of typical STEC O157:H7. This study reveals the importance of GP O157:H7 as a source of highly pathogenic STEC clones.