Characterization of a new plasmid-like prophage in a pandemic Vibrio parahaemolyticus O3:K6 strain.
ABSTRACT: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a common food-borne pathogen that is normally associated with seafood. In 1996, a pandemic O3:K6 strain abruptly appeared and caused the first pandemic of this pathogen to spread throughout many Asian countries, America, Europe, and Africa. The role of temperate bacteriophages in the evolution of this pathogen is of great interest. In this work, a new temperate phage, VP882, from a pandemic O3:K6 strain of V. parahaemolyticus was purified and characterized after mitomycin C induction. VP882 was a Myoviridae bacteriophage with a polyhedral head and a long rigid tail with a sheath-like structure. It infected and lysed high proportions of V. parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus, and Vibrio cholerae strains. The genome of phage VP882 was sequenced and was 38,197 bp long, and 71 putative open reading frames were identified, of which 27 were putative functional phage or bacterial genes. VP882 had a linear plasmid-like genome with a putative protelomerase gene and cohesive ends. The genome does not integrate into the host chromosome but was maintained as a plasmid in the lysogen. Analysis of the reaction sites of the protelomerases in different plasmid-like phages revealed that VP882 and PhiHAP-1 were highly similar, while N15, PhiKO2, and PY54 made up another closely related group. The presence of DNA adenine methylase and quorum-sensing transcriptional regulators in VP882 may play a specific role in this phage or regulate physiological or virulence-associated traits of the hosts. These genes may also be remnants from the bacterial chromosome following transduction.
Project description:This study describes the optimization of PCR parameters and testing of a wide number of microbial species to establish a highly specific and sensitive PCR-based method of detection of a newly emerged pandemic Vibrio parahaemolyticus O3:K6 strain in pure cultures and seeded waters from the Gulf of Mexico (gulf water). The selected open reading frame 8 (ORF8) DNA-specific oligonucleotide primers tested were found to specifically amplify all 35 pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 pandemic isolates, whereas these primers were not found to detectably amplify two strains of V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 that were isolated prior to the 1996 outbreaks, 122 non-O3:K6 strains of V. parahaemolyticus, 198 non-V. parahaemolyticus spp., or 16 non-Vibrio bacterial spp. The minimum level of detection by the PCR method was 1 pg of purified genomic DNA or 10(2) ORF8-positive V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 cells in 100 ml of water. The effectiveness of this method for the detection of ORF8-positive isolates in environmental samples was tested in gulf water seeded with 10-fold serial dilutions of this pathogen. A detection level of 10(3) cells per 100 ml of gulf water was achieved. Also, the applicability of this methodology was tested by the detection of this pathogen in gulf water incubated at various temperatures for 28 days. This PCR approach can potentially be used to monitor with high specificity and well within the required range of sensitivity the occurrence and distribution of this newly emerged pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 strain in coastal, marine, and ship ballast waters. Early detection of V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 will help increase seafood safety and decrease the risk of infectious outbreaks caused by this pathogen.
Project description:The Vibrio parahaemolyticus O3:K6 pandemic clonal strain was first observed in southern Chile in 2004 and has since caused approximately 8,000 seafood-related diarrhea cases in this region. The massive proliferation of the original clonal population offers a unique opportunity to study the evolution of a bacterial pathogen in its natural environment by detection and characterization of emerging bacterial variants. Here, we describe a group of pandemic variants characterized by the presence of a 42-kb extrachromosomal DNA that can be recovered by alkaline extraction. Upon treatment with mitomycin C, these variants lyse with production of a myovirus containing DNA of equal size to the plasmid but which cannot be recovered by alkaline extraction. Plasmid and phage DNAs show similar restriction patterns corresponding to enzyme sites in a circular permutation. Sequenced regions showed 81 to 99% nucleotide similarity to bacteriophage VHML of Vibrio harveyi. Altogether these observations indicate that the 42-kb plasmid corresponds to a prophage, consisting of a linear DNA with terminal hairpins of a telomeric temperate phage with a linear genome. Bacteria containing the prophage were 7 to 15 times more sensitive to UV radiation, likely due to phage induction by UV irradiation as plasmid curing restored the original sensitivity. The enhanced UV sensitivity could have a significant role in reducing the survival and propagation capability of the V. parahaemolyticus pandemic strain in the ocean.
Project description:A specific serotype, O3:K6, of Vibrio parahaemolyticus has recently been causing epidemics of gastroenteritis in Southeast Asia, Japan, and North America. To examine whether the new O3:K6 strains possess characteristics that may exacerbate outbreaks, we compared V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 strains with non-O3:K6 strains using strains isolated from individuals with traveler's diarrhea at Kansai Airport Quarantine Station, Osaka, Japan. All 24 O3:K6 strains possessed a common plasmid, pO3K6 (DNA size, 8,782 bp, with 10 open reading frames [ORFs]). The gene organization of pO3K6 was similar to that of Vf33, a filamentous phage previously described in V. parahaemolyticus. We isolated a phage (phage f237) from the culture supernatant of V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 strain KXV237, which formed a turbid plaque on an indicator strain. The genome of f237 was single-stranded DNA, and the double-stranded DNA obtained by treatment of the genome with DNA polymerase was identical to that of pO3K6 when analyzed by agarose gel electrophoresis after HindIII digestion. Furthermore, the N-terminal amino acid sequence of the f237 major coat protein was found in ORF4 of pO3K6. Our results showed that pO3K6 is a replicative form of f237. Among the ORFs found in the f237 genome, the sequence of ORF8 had no significant homology to those of any proteins in databases. ORF8 was located on a region corresponding to the distinctive region of Vf33, and its G+C content was apparently lower than that of the remaining DNA sequence of f237. By colony hybridization, ORF8 was detected only in O3:K6 strains isolated since 1996 and was not found in O3:K6 strains isolated before 1996 and clinical V. parahaemolyticus strains other than those of serotype O3:K6. Thus, this study shows that f237 is exclusively associated with recent V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 strains. The ORF8 gene can be a useful genetic marker for the identification of the recently widespread O3:K6 strains of V. parahaemolyticus.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Pandemic Vibrio parahaemolyticus has undergone rapid changes in both K- and O-antigens, making detection of outbreaks more difficult. In order to understand these rapid changes, the genetic regions encoding these antigens must be examined. In Vibrio cholerae and Vibrio vulnificus, both O-antigen and capsular polysaccharides are encoded in a single region on the large chromosome; a similar arrangement in pandemic V. parahaemolyticus would help explain the rapid serotype changes. However, previous reports on "capsule" genes are controversial. Therefore, we set out to clarify and characterize these regions in pandemic V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 by gene deletion using a chitin based transformation strategy. RESULTS: We generated different deletion mutants of putative polysaccharide genes and examined the mutants by immuno-blots with O and K specific antisera. Our results showed that O- and K-antigen genes are separated in V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6; the region encoding both O-antigen and capsule biosynthesis in other vibrios, i.e. genes between gmhD and rjg, determines the K6-antigen but not the O3-antigen in V. parahaemolyticus. The previously identified "capsule genes" on the smaller chromosome were related to exopolysaccharide synthesis, not K-antigen. CONCLUSION: Understanding of the genetic basis of O- and K-antigens is critical to understanding the rapid changes in these polysaccharides seen in pandemic V. parahaemolyticus. This report confirms the genetic location of K-antigen synthesis in V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 allowing us to focus future studies of the evolution of serotypes to this region.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is an aquatic, halophilic, Gram-negative bacterium, first discovered in 1950 in Japan during a food-poisoning outbreak. Infections resulting from consumption of V. parahaemolyticus have increased globally in the last 10 years leading to the bacterium's classification as a newly emerging pathogen. In 1996 the first appearance of a pandemic V. parahaemolyticus clone occurred, a new O3:K6 serotype strain that has now been identified worldwide as a major cause of seafood-borne gastroenteritis. RESULTS: We examined the sequenced genome of V. parahaemolyticus RIMD2210633, an O3:K6 serotype strain isolated in Japan in 1996, by bioinformatic analyses to uncover genomic islands (GIs) that may play a role in the emergence and pathogenesis of pandemic strains. We identified 7 regions ranging in size from 10 kb to 81 kb that had the characteristics of GIs such as aberrant base composition compared to the core genome, presence of phage-like integrases, flanked by direct repeats and the absence of these regions from closely related species. Molecular analysis of worldwide clinical isolates of V. parahaemolyticus recovered over the last 33 years demonstrated that a 24 kb region named V. parahaemolyticus island-1 (VPaI-1) encompassing ORFs VP0380 to VP0403 is only present in new O3:K6 and related strains recovered after 1995. We investigated the presence of 3 additional regions, VPaI-4 (VP2131 to VP2144), VPaI-5 (VP2900 to VP2910) and VPaI-6 (VPA1254 to VPA1270) by PCR assays and Southern blot analyses among the same set of V. parahaemolyticus isolates. These 3 VPaI regions also gave similar distribution patterns amongst the 41 strains examined. CONCLUSION: The 4 VPaI regions examined may represent DNA acquired by the pandemic group of V. parahaemolyticus isolates that increased their fitness either in the aquatic environment or in their ability to infect humans.
Project description:The genetic relatedness of 81 isolates of Vibrio parahaemolyticus was assessed by multilocus sequence typing. The strain with serotype O3:K6 emerged as a pandemic pathogen in 1996, with subsequent expansion to include strains having serotypes O1:KUT, O4:K68, and O1:K25. Sequence data from gyrB, recA, dnaE, and gnd revealed that 16 distinct serogroups isolated prior to the pandemic were highly variable and only isolates of serogroup O3:K6 shared two alleles with the pandemic strains. The pandemic strains regardless of serotype were clonal, with 51 of 54 isolates having the identical allelic profile (AP). Serotype alone did not adequately define a pandemic strain: among O1:KUT strains tested, seven strains with the identical pandemic AP carried previously described pandemic markers, while five nonpandemic strains had five distinct APs. Our sequence data provide strong molecular support for the clonal origin of pandemic V. parahaemolyticus O3:K6 and suggest that strains within such a clonal group may acquire previously identified serotypes.
Project description:Vibrio parahaemolyticus is an important human pathogen that has been isolated worldwide from clinical cases, most of which have been associated with seafood consumption. Environmental and clinical toxigenic strains of V. parahaemolyticus that were isolated in Mexico from 1998 to 2012, including those from the only outbreak that has been reported in this country, were characterized genetically to assess the presence of the O3:K6 pandemic clone, and their genetic relationship to strains that are related to the pandemic clonal complex (CC3). Pathogenic tdh+ and tdh+/trh+ strains were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Also, the entire genome of a Mexican O3:K6 strain was sequenced. Most of the strains were tdh/ORF8-positive and corresponded to the O3:K6 serotype. By PFGE and MLST, there was very close genetic relationship between ORF8/O3:K6 strains, and very high genetic diversities from non-pandemic strains. The genetic relationship is very close among O3:K6 strains that were isolated in Mexico and sequences that were available for strains in the CC3, based on the PubMLST database. The whole-genome sequence of CICESE-170 strain had high similarity with that of the reference RIMD 2210633 strain, and harbored 7 pathogenicity islands, including the 4 that denote O3:K6 pandemic strains. These results indicate that pandemic strains that have been isolated in Mexico show very close genetic relationship among them and with those isolated worldwide.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Vibrio parahaemolyticus is as an important food-borne pathogen circulating in China. Since 1996, the core serotype has become O3:K6, which has specific genetic markers. This serotype causes the majority of outbreaks worldwide. Until now, nearly 21 serotypes were considered as serovariants of O3:K6. Among these, O4:K68, O1:K25 and O1:KUT have caused pandemic outbreaks. O4:K8, a serovariant of O3:K6, has become the second most dominant serotype circulating in China after O3:K6. In this study, we report the use of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) to analyze and characterize 146 V. parahaemolyticus isolates belonging to 23 serotypes.<h4>Results</h4>Upon mass spectral analysis, isolates belonging to O4:K8 formed a distinct group among the five main pandemic groups (O3:K6, O4:K8, O4:K68, O1:K25 and O1:KUT). Two major protein peaks (m/z 4383 and 4397) were significantly different between serotype O4:K8 and the four other pandemic strains. Both of these peaks were present in 32 out of 36 O4:K8 isolates, but were absent in 105 out of 110 non-O4:K8 isolates. These peaks were also absent in all 74 pandemic serotypes (O3:K6, O4:K68, O1:K25 and O1:KUT).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our results highlight the threat of O4:K8 forming a distinct group, which differs significantly from pandemic serotypes on the proteomic level. The use of MALDI-TOF MS has not been reported before in a study of this nature. Mass spectrum peaks at m/z 4383 and 4397 may be specific for O4:K8. However, we cannot conclude that MALDI-TOF MS can be used to serotype V. parahaemolyticus.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is abundant in the aquatic environment particularly in warmer waters and is the leading cause of seafood borne gastroenteritis worldwide. Prior to 1995, numerous V. parahaemolyticus serogroups were associated with disease, however, in that year an O3:K6 serogroup emerged in Southeast Asia causing large outbreaks and rapid hospitalizations. This new highly virulent strain is now globally disseminated. RESULTS: We performed a four-way BLAST analysis on the genome sequence of V. parahaemolyticus RIMD2210633, an O3:K6 isolate from Japan recovered in 1996, versus the genomes of four published Vibrio species and constructed genome BLAST atlases. We identified 24 regions, gaps in the genome atlas, of greater than 10 kb that were unique to RIMD2210633. These 24 regions included an integron, f237 phage, 2 type III secretion systems (T3SS), a type VI secretion system (T6SS) and 7 Vibrio parahaemolyticus genomic islands (VPaI-1 to VPaI-7). Comparative genomic analysis of our fifth genome, V. parahaemolyticus AQ3810, an O3:K6 isolate recovered in 1983, identified four regions unique to each V. parahaemolyticus strain. Interestingly, AQ3810 did not encode 8 of the 24 regions unique to RMID, including a T6SS, which suggests an additional virulence mechanism in RIMD2210633. The distribution of only the VPaI regions was highly variable among a collection of 42 isolates and phylogenetic analysis of these isolates show that these regions are confined to a pathogenic clade. CONCLUSION: Our data show that there is considerable genomic flux in this species and that the new highly virulent clone arose from an O3:K6 isolate that acquired at least seven novel regions, which included both a T3SS and a T6SS.
Project description:Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a major pathogen that is mainly associated with seafood and is a global food safety issue. Our objective was to isolate and completely sequence a specific phage against this bacterium. Phage vB_VpaM_MAR is able to lyse 76% of the V. parahaemolyticus strains tested. MAR belongs to the Myoviridae family and has a genome comprised of double-stranded DNA with a size of 41,351 bp, a G+C content of 51.3%, and 62 open reading frames (ORFs). Bioinformatic analysis showed that phage MAR is closely related to Vibrio phages VHML, VP58.5, and VP882 and Halomonas aquamarina phage ?HAP-1.