Genetic diversity of clinical and environmental Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains from the Pacific Northwest.
ABSTRACT: Since 1997, cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus-related gastroenteritis from the consumption of raw oysters harvested in Washington State have been higher than historical levels. These cases have shown little or no correlation with concentrations of potentially pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus (positive for the thermostable direct hemolysin gene, tdh) in oysters, although significant concentrations of tdh(+) V. parahaemolyticus strains were isolated from shellfish-growing areas in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). We compared clinical and environmental strains isolated from the PNW to those from other geographic regions within the United States and Asia for the presence of virulence-associated genes, including the thermostable direct hemolysin (tdh), the thermostable-related hemolysin (trh), urease (ureR), the pandemic group specific markers orf8 and toxRS, and genes encoding both type 3 secretion systems (T3SS1 and T3SS2). The majority of clinical strains from the PNW were positive for tdh, trh, and ureR genes, while a significant proportion of environmental isolates were tdh(+) but trh negative. Hierarchical clustering grouped the majority of these clinical isolates into a cluster distinct from that including the pandemic strain RIMD2210633, clinical isolates from other geographical regions, and tdh(+), trh-negative environmental isolates from the PNW. We detected T3SS2-related genes (T3SS2?) in environmental strains that were tdh and trh negative. The presence of significant concentrations of tdh(+), trh-negative environmental strains in the PNW that have not been responsible for illness and T3SS2? in tdh- and trh-negative strains emphasizes the diversity in this species and the need to identify additional virulence markers for this bacterium to improve risk assessment tools for the detection of this pathogen.
Project description:The thermostable direct hemolysin (TDH) and/or TDH-related hemolysin (TRH) genes are carried by most virulent Vibrio parahaemolyticus serovars. In Norway, trh+ V. parahaemolyticus constitute 4.4 and 4.5% of the total number of V. parahaemolyticus isolated from blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) and water, respectively. The trh gene is located in a region close to the gene cluster for urease production (ure). This region was characterized in V. parahaemolyticus strain TH3996 and it was found that a nickel transport operon (nik) was located between the first gene (ureR) and the rest of the ure cluster genes. The organization of the trh-ureR-nik-ure gene cluster in the Norwegian trh+ isolates was unknown. In this study, we explore the gene organization within the trh-ureR-nik-ure cluster for these isolates. PCR analyses revealed that the genes within the trh-ureR-nik-ure gene cluster of Norwegian trh+ isolates were organized in a similar fashion as reported previously for TH33996. Additionally, the phylogenetic relationship among these trh+ isolates was investigated using Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST). Analysis by MLST or ureR-trh sequences generated two different phylogenetic trees for the same strains analyzed, suggesting that ureR-trh genes have been acquired at different times in Norwegian V. parahaemolyticus isolates. MLST results revealed that some pathogenic and non-pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus isolates in Norway appear to be highly genetically related.
Project description:Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a recognized human enteropathogen. Thermostable direct hemolysin (TDH) and TDH-related hemolysin (TRH) as well as the type III secretion system 2 (T3SS2) are considered as major virulence factors. As tdh positive strains are not detected in coastal waters of Germany, we focused on the characterization of trh positive strains, which were isolated from mussels, seawater and patients in Germany.Ten trh harbouring V. parahaemolyticus strains from Germany were compared to twenty-one trh positive strains from other countries. The complete trh sequences revealed clustering into three different types: trh1 and trh2 genes and a pseudogene ?trh. All German isolates possessed alleles of the trh2 gene. MLST analysis indicated a close relationship to Norwegian isolates suggesting that these strains belong to the autochthonous microflora of Northern Europe seawaters. Strains carrying the pseudogene ?trh were negative for T3SS2? effector vopC. Transcription of trh and vopC genes was analyzed under different growth conditions. Trh2 gene expression was not altered by bile while trh1 genes were inducible. VopC could be induced by urea in trh2 bearing strains. Most trh1 carrying strains were hemolytic against sheep erythrocytes while all trh2 positive strains did not show any hemolytic activity. TRH variants were synthesized in a prokaryotic cell-free system and their hemolytic activity was analyzed. TRH1 was active against sheep erythrocytes while TRH2 variants were not active at all.Our study reveals a high diversity among trh positive V. parahaemolyticus strains. The function of TRH2 hemolysins and the role of the pseudogene ?trh as pathogenicity factors are questionable. To assess the pathogenic potential of V. parahaemolyticus strains a differentiation of trh variants and the detection of T3SS2? components like vopC would improve the V. parahaemolyticus diagnostics and could lead to a refinement of the risk assessment in food analyses and clinical diagnostics.
Project description:Virulence factor genes encoding the thermostable direct hemolysin (tdh) and the thermostable direct hemolysin-related hemolysin (trh) are strongly correlated with virulence of the emergent human pathogen Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The gene encoding the thermolabile hemolysin (tlh) is also considered a signature molecular marker for the species. These genes are typically reported in very low percentages (1 to 2%) of nonclinical strains. V. parahaemolyticus strains were isolated from various niches within a pristine estuary (North Inlet, SC) and were screened for these genes using both newly designed PCR primers and more commonly used primers. DNA sequences of tdh and trh were recovered from 48% and 8.3%, respectively, of these North Inlet strains. The recovery of pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus strains in such high proportions from an estuarine ecosystem that is virtually free of anthropogenic influences indicates the potential for additional, perhaps environmental roles of the tdh and trh genes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Foodborne illness can occur due to various pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and can cause severe gastroenteritis symptoms. In this study, we completed the genome sequence of a foodborne pathogen V. parahaemolyticus FORC_014, which was isolated from suspected contaminated toothfish from South Korea. Additionally, we extended our knowledge of genomic characteristics of the FORC_014 strain through comparative analysis using the complete sequences of other V. parahaemolyticus strains whose complete genomes have previously been reported. RESULTS:The complete genome sequence of V. parahaemolyticus FORC_014 was generated using the PacBio RS platform with single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing. The FORC_014 strain consists of two circular chromosomes (3,241,330 bp for chromosome 1 and 1,997,247 bp for chromosome 2), one plasmid (51,383 bp), and one putative phage sequence (96,896 bp). The genome contains a total of 4274 putative protein coding sequences, 126 tRNA genes and 34 rRNA genes. Furthermore, we found 33 type III secretion system 1 (T3SS1) related proteins and 15 type III secretion system 2 (T3SS2) related proteins on chromosome 1. This is the first reported result of Type III secretion system 2 located on chromosome 1 of V. parahaemolyticus without thermostable direct hemolysin (tdh) and thermostable direct hemolysin-related hemolysin (trh). CONCLUSIONS:Through investigation of the complete genome sequence of V. parahaemolyticus FORC_014, which differs from previously reported strains, we revealed two type III secretion systems (T3SS1, T3SS2) located on chromosome 1 which do not include tdh and trh genes. We also identified several virulence factors carried by our strain, including iron uptake system, hemolysin and secretion system. This result suggests that the FORC_014 strain may be one pathogen responsible for foodborne illness outbreak. Our results provide significant genomic clues which will assist in future understanding of virulence at the genomic level and help distinguish between clinical and non-clinical isolates.
Project description:Most Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolates found in marine environments are non-pathogenic; however, certain lineages have acquired genomic pathogenicity islands (PAIs) that enable these isolates to cause human illness. The V. parahaemolyticus PAI contains one or both of two toxins: thermostable direct haemolysin (TDH) or TDH-related haemolysin (TRH) and type III secretion system 2 (T3SS2). Recently, a few V. parahaemolyticus isolates that do not have this PAI were obtained from clinical samples, and there has been interest in determining whether these isolates possess novel virulence factors. In this investigation, we have selected four V. parahaemolyticus isolates: a canonical pathogenic strain containing TDH, TRH and T3SS2; two strains from clinical cases which do not contain a PAI; and an environmental isolate which also does not contain a PAI. For each isolate, we analyzed differential gene expression after crude bile exposure. Several enteric bacterial pathogens are known to use bile as a signal to enhance virulence gene expression. We have shown that in the tdh-positive trh-positive pathotype gene virulence gene expression was not up-regulated in response to crude bile, strongly indicating that the current dogma of virulence gene regulation in V. parahaemolyticus needs to be revisited and separately investigated for each pathotype. In addition, we have created a list of genes of interest that were up-regulated in the non-canonical pathotypes which may contribute to virulence in these isolates.
Project description:Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterial pathogen that can cause illness after the consumption or handling of contaminated seafood. The primary virulence factors associated with V. parahaemolyticus illness are thermostable direct hemolysin (TDH) and Tdh-related hemolysin (TRH). However, clinical strains lacking tdh and trh have recently been isolated, and these clinical isolates are poorly understood. To help understand the emergence of clinical tdh- and trh-negative isolates, a genomic approach was used to comprehensively compare 4 clinical tdh- and trh-negative isolates with 16 environmental tdh- and trh-negative isolates and 34 clinical isolates positive for tdh or trh, or both, with the objective of identifying genomic features that are unique to clinical tdh- and trh-negative isolates. The prevalence of pathogenicity islands (PAIs) common to clinical isolates was thoroughly examined in each of the clinical tdh- and trh-negative isolates. The tdh PAI was not present in any clinical or environmental tdh- and trh-negative isolates. The trh PAI was not present in any environmental isolates; however, in clinical tdh- and trh-negative isolate 10-4238, the majority of the trh PAI including a partial trh1 gene was present, which resulted in reclassification of this isolate as a tdh-negative and trh-positive isolate. In the other clinical tdh- and trh-negative isolates, neither the trh gene nor the trh PAI was present. We identified 862 genes in clinical tdh- and trh-negative isolates but not in environmental tdh- and trh-negative isolates. Many of these genes are highly homologous to genes found in common enteric bacteria and included genes encoding a number of chemotaxis proteins and a novel putative type VI secretion system (T6SS) effector and immunity protein (T6SS1). The availability of genome sequences from clinical V. parahaemolyticus tdh- and trh-negative isolates and the comparative analysis may help provide an understanding of how this pathotype is able to survive in vivo during clinical illness.
Project description:A novel method for detecting viable and thermostable direct hemolysin (TDH)-producing or TDH-related hemolysin (TRH)-producing Vibrio parahaemolyticus in seafood was developed. The method involved (i) enrichment culture, selective for viable, motile cells penetrating a soft-agar-coated filter paper, and (ii) a multiplex PCR assay targeting both the TDH gene (tdh) and TRH gene (trh) following DNase pretreatment on the test culture to eradicate any incidental DNAs that might have been released from dead cells of tdh- or trh-positive (tdh+ trh+) strains and penetrated the agar-coated filter. A set of preliminary laboratory tests performed on 190 ml of enrichment culture that had been inoculated simultaneously with ca. 100 viable cells of a strain of tdh+ trh+ V. parahaemolyticus and dense populations of a viable strain of tdh- and trh-negative V. parahaemolyticus or Vibrio alginolyticus indicated that the method detected the presence of viable tdh+ trh+ strains. Another set of preliminary tests on 190 ml of enrichment culture that had been initially inoculated with a large number of dead cells of the tdh+ trh+ strain together with dense populations of the tdh- and trh-negative strains confirmed that the method did not yield any false-positive results. Subsequent quasi-field tests using various seafood samples (ca. 20 g), each of which was experimentally contaminated with either or both hemolysin-producing strains at an initial density of ca. 5 to 10 viable cells per gram, demonstrated that contamination could be detected within 2 working days.
Project description:We have demonstrated that possession of the gene for thermostable direct hemolysin-related hemolysin (trh) coincides with the presence of the urease gene among clinical Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains and that the location of the two genes are in close proximity on the chromosome. Here, we cloned and sequenced the 15,754-bp DNA region containing the trh gene and the gene cluster for urease production from the chromosome of clinical V. parahaemolyticus (TH3996). We found 16 open reading frames (ORFs) and a lower G+C content (41%) compared with the total genome of this bacterium (46 to 47%). The ure cluster consisted of eight genes, namely, ureDABCEFG and ureR. ureR was located 5.2 kb upstream of the other seven genes in the opposite direction. The genetic organization and sequences of the ure genes resembled those found in Proteus mirabilis. Between ureR and the other ure genes, there were five ORFs, which are homologous with the nickel transport operon (nik) of Escherichia coli. We disrupted each of the ureR, ureC, and nikD genes in TH3996 by homologous recombination and analyzed the phenotype of the mutants. In the presence of urea these mutant strains had dramatically less urease activity than the strain they were derived from. Disruption of ureR, nikD, or ureC, however, had no effect on TRH production. The DNA region containing the trh, nik, and ure genes was found in only trh-positive strains and not in Kanagawa phenomenon-positive and environmental V. parahaemolyticus strains. At the end of the region, an insertion sequence-like element existed. These results suggest that the DNA region was introduced into V. parahaemolyticus in the past through a mechanism mediated by insertion sequences. This is the first reported case that the genes for an ATP-binding cassette-type nickel transport system, which may play a role in nickel transport through bacterial cytoplasmic membrane, are located adjacent to the ure cluster on the genome of an organism.
Project description:BACKGROUND:V. parahaemolyticus is autochthonous to the marine environment and causes seafood-borne gastroenteritis in humans. Generally, V. parahaemolyticus recovered from the environment and/or seafood is thought to be non-pathogenic and the relationship between environmental isolates and acute diarrhoeal disease is poorly understood. In this study, we explored the virulence potential of environmental V. parahaemolyticus isolated from water, plankton and assorted seafood samples collected from the Indian coast. RESULTS:Twenty-two V. parahaemolyticus isolates from seafood harboured virulence associated genes encoding the thermostable-direct haemolysin (TDH), TDH-related haemolysin (TRH), and Type 3 secretion systems (T3SS) and 95.5% of the toxigenic isolates had pandemic strain attributes (toxRS/new+). Nine serovars, with pandemic strain traits were newly identified and an O4:K36 tdh-trh+V. parahaemolyticus bearing pandemic marker gene was recognised for the first time. Results obtained by reverse transcription PCR showed trh, T3SS1 and T3SS2? to be functional in the seafood isolates. Moreover, the environmental strains were cytotoxic and could invade Caco-2 cells upon infection as well as induce changes to the tight junction protein, ZO-1 and the actin cytoskeleton. CONCLUSION:Our study provides evidence that environmental isolates of V. parahaemolyticus are potentially invasive and capable of eliciting pathogenic characteristics typical of clinical strains and present a potential health risk. We also demonstrate that virulence of this pathogen is highly complex and hence draws attention for the need to investigate more reliable virulence markers in order to distinguish the environmental and clinical isolates, which will be crucial for the pathogenomics and control of this pathogen.
Project description:In this study, 77 clinical and 67 oyster Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolates from North America were examined for biochemical profiles, serotype, and the presence of potential virulence factors (tdh, trh, and type III secretion system [T3SS] genes). All isolates were positive for oxidase, indole, and glucose fermentation, consistent with previous reports. The isolates represented 35 different serotypes, 9 of which were shared by clinical and oyster isolates. Serotypes associated with pandemic strains (O1:KUT, O1:K25, O3:K6, and O4:K68) were observed for clinical isolates, and 7 (9%) oyster isolates belonged to serotype O1:KUT. Of the clinical isolates, 27% were negative for tdh and trh, while 45% contained both genes. Oyster isolates were preferentially selected for the presence of tdh and/or trh; 34% contained both genes, 42% had trh but not tdh, and 3% had tdh but not trh. All but 1 isolate (143/144) had at least three of the four T3SS1 genes examined. The isolates lacking both tdh and trh contained no T3SS2? or T3SS2? genes. All clinical isolates positive for tdh and negative for trh possessed all T3SS2? genes, and all isolates negative for tdh and positive for trh possessed all T3SS2? genes. The two oyster isolates containing tdh but not trh possessed all but the vopB2 gene of T3SS2?, as reported previously. In contrast to the findings of previous studies, all strains examined that were positive for both tdh and trh also carried T3SS2? genes. This report identifies the serotype as the most distinguishing feature between clinical and oyster isolates. Our findings raise concerns about the reliability of the tdh, trh, and T3SS genes as virulence markers and highlight the need for more-detailed pathogenicity investigations of V. parahaemolyticus.