Draft genome sequences of the type strains of Shigella flexneri held at Public Health England: comparison of classical phenotypic and novel molecular assays with whole genome sequence.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Public Health England (PHE) holds a collection of Shigella flexneri Type strains isolated between 1949 and 1972 representing 15 established serotypes and one provisional type, E1037. In this study, the genomes of all 16 PHE Type strains were sequenced using the Illumina HiSeq platform. The relationship between core genome phylogeny and serotype was examined. RESULTS:The most common target gene for the detection of Shigella species in clinical PCR assays, ipaH, was detected in all genomes. The type-specific target genes were correctly identified in each genome sequence. In contrast to the S. flexneri in serotype 5 strain described by Sun et al. (2012), the two PHE serotype 5 Type strains possessed an additional oac gene and were differentiated by the presence (serotype 5b) or absence (serotype 5a) of gtrX. The somatic antigen structure and phylogenetic relationship were broadly congruent for strains expressing serotype specific antigens III, IV and V, but not for those expressing I and II. The whole genome phylogenies of the 15 isolates sequenced showed that the serotype 6 Type Strain was phylogenetically distinct from the other S. flexneri serotypes sequenced. The provisional serotype E1037 fell within the serotype 4 clade, being most closely related to the Serotype 4a Type Strain. CONCLUSIONS:The S. flexneri genome sequences were used to evaluate phylogenetic relationships between Type strains and validate genotypic and phenotypic assays. The analysis confirmed that the PHE S. flexneri Type strains are phenotypically and genotypically distinct. Novel variants will continue to be added to this archive.
Project description:Shigella flexneri is the major Shigella species that causes diarrheal disease in developing countries. It is further subdivided into 15 serotypes based on O-antigen structure. Serotyping of S. flexneri is important for epidemiological purposes. In this study, we developed a multiplex PCR assay targeting the O-antigen synthesis gene wzx and the O-antigen modification genes gtrI, gtrIC, gtrII, oac, gtrIV, gtrV, and gtrX for molecular serotyping of S. flexneri. The multiplex PCR assay contained eight sets of specific PCRs in a single tube and can identify 14 of the 15 serotypes (the exception being serotype Xv) of S. flexneri recognized thus far. A nearly perfect concordance (97.8%) between multiplex PCR assay and slide agglutination was observed when 358 S. flexneri strains of various serotypes were analyzed, except that 8 strains were carrying additional cryptic and/or defective serotype-specific genes. The multiplex PCR assay provides a rapid and specific method for the serotype identification of S. flexneri.
Project description:Bacillary dysentery caused by Shigella flexneri is a major cause of under-five mortality in developing countries, where a novel S. flexneri serotype 1c has become very common since the 1980s. However, the origin and diversification of serotype 1c remain poorly understood. To understand the evolution of serotype 1c and their antimicrobial resistance, we sequenced and analyzed the whole-genome of 85 clinical isolates from the United Kingdom, Egypt, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Japan belonging to serotype 1c and related serotypes of 1a, 1b and Y/Yv. We identified up to three distinct O-antigen modifying genes in S. flexneri 1c strains, which were acquired from three different bacteriophages. Our analysis shows that S. flexneri 1c strains have originated from serotype 1a and serotype 1b strains after the acquisition of bacteriophage-encoding gtrIc operon. The maximum-likelihood phylogenetic analysis using core genes suggests two distinct S. flexneri 1c lineages, one specific to Bangladesh, which originated from ancestral serotype 1a strains and the other from the United Kingdom, Egypt, and Vietnam originated from ancestral serotype 1b strains. We also identified 63 isolates containing multiple drug-resistant genes in them conferring resistance against streptomycin, sulfonamide, quinolone, trimethoprim, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, and beta-lactamase. Furthermore, antibiotic susceptibility assays showed 83 (97.6%) isolates as either complete or intermediate resistance to the WHO-recommended first- and second-line drugs. This changing drug resistance pattern demonstrates the urgent need for drug resistance surveillance and renewed treatment guidelines.
Project description:Few live attenuated vaccines protect against multiple serotypes of bacterial pathogen because host serotype-specific immune responses are limited to the serotype present in the vaccine strain. Here, immunization with a mutant of Shigella flexneri 2a protected guinea pigs against subsequent infection by S. dysenteriae type 1 and S. sonnei strains. This deletion mutant lacked the RNA-binding protein Hfq leading to increased expression of the type III secretion system via loss of regulation, resulting in attenuation of cell viability through repression of stress response sigma factors. Such increased antigen production and simultaneous attenuation were expected to elicit protective immunity against Shigella strains of heterologous serotypes. Thus, the vaccine potential of this mutant was tested in two guinea pig models of shigellosis. Animals vaccinated in the left eye showed fewer symptoms upon subsequent challenge via the right eye, and even survived subsequent intestinal challenge. In addition, oral vaccination effectively induced production of immunoglobulins without severe side effects, again protecting all animals against subsequent intestinal challenge with S. dysenteriae type 1 or S. sonnei strains. Antibodies against common virulence proteins and the O-antigen of S. flexneri 2a were detected by immunofluorescence microscopy. Reaction of antibodies with various strains, including enteroinvasive Escherichia coli, suggested that common virulence proteins induced protective immunity against a range of serotypes. Therefore, vaccination is expected to cover not only the most prevalent serotypes of S. sonnei and S. flexneri 2a, but also various Shigella strains, including S. dysenteriae type 1, which produces Shiga toxin.
Project description:<i>Shigella flexneri</i> serotype 6 is an understudied cause of diarrhoeal diseases in developing countries, and has been proposed as one of the major targets for vaccine development against shigellosis. Despite being named as <i>S. flexneri</i>, <i>Shigella flexneri</i> serotype 6 is phylogenetically distinct from other <i>S. flexneri</i> serotypes and more closely related to <i>S. boydii</i>. This unique phylogenetic relationship and its low sampling frequency have hampered genomic research on this pathogen. Herein, by utilizing whole genome sequencing (WGS) and analyses of <i>Shigella flexneri</i> serotype 6 collected from epidemiological studies (1987-2013) in four Asian countries, we revealed its population structure and evolutionary history in the region. Phylogenetic analyses supported the delineation of Asian <i>Shigella flexneri</i> serotype 6 into two phylogenetic groups (PG-1 and -2). Notably, temporal phylogenetic approaches showed that extant Asian <i>S. flexneri</i> serotype 6 could be traced back to an inferred common ancestor arising in the 18<sup>th</sup> century. The dominant lineage PG-1 likely emerged in the 1970s, which coincided with the times to most recent common ancestors (tMRCAs) inferred from other major Southeast Asian <i>S. flexneri</i> serotypes. Similar to other <i>S. flexneri</i> serotypes in the same period in Asia, genomic analyses showed that resistance to first-generation antimicrobials was widespread, while resistance to more recent first-line antimicrobials was rare. These data also showed a number of gene inactivation and gene loss events, particularly on genes related to metabolism and synthesis of cellular appendages, emphasizing the continuing role of reductive evolution in the adaptation of the pathogen to an intracellular lifestyle. Together, our findings reveal insights into the genomic evolution of the understudied <i>Shigella flexneri</i> serotype 6, providing a new piece in the puzzle of <i>Shigella</i> epidemiology and evolution.
Project description:Shigella spp. are the causative agent of shigellosis with Shigella flexneri serotype 2a being the most prevalent in developing countries. Epidemiological surveillance in China found that a new serotype of S. flexneri appeared in 2001 and replaced serotype 2a in 2003 as the most prevalent serotype in Henan Province. The new serotype also became the dominant serotype in 7 of the 10 other provinces under surveillance in China by 2007. The serotype was identified as a variant of serotype X. It differs from serotype X by agglutination to the monovalent anti-IV type antiserum and the group antigen-specific monoclonal antibody MASF IV-I. Genome sequencing of a serotype X variant isolate, 2002017, showed that it acquired a Shigella serotype conversion island, also as an SfX bacteriophage, containing gtr genes for type X-specific glucosylation. Multilocus sequence typing of 15 genes from 37 serotype X variant isolates and 69 isolates of eight other serotypes, 1a, 2a, 2b, 3a, 4a, 5b, X, and Y, found that all belong to a new sequence type (ST), ST91. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis revealed 154 pulse types with 655 S. flexneri isolates analyzed and identified 57 serotype switching events. The data suggest that S. flexneri epidemics in China have been caused by a single epidemic clone, ST91, with frequent serotype switching to evade infection-induced immunity to serotypes to which the population was exposed previously. The clone has also acquired resistance to multiple antibiotics. These findings underscore the challenges to the current vaccine development and control strategies for shigellosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite a significant global burden of disease, there is still no vaccine against shigellosis widely available. One aim of the European Union funded STOPENTERICS consortium is to develop vaccine candidates against Shigella. Given the importance of translational vaccine coverage, here we aimed to characterise the Shigella strains being used by the consortium by whole genome sequencing, and report on the stability of strains cultured in different laboratories or through serial passage. METHODS:We sequenced, de novo assembled and annotated 20 Shigella strains being used by the consortium. These comprised 16 different isolates belonging to 7 serotypes, and 4 derivative strains. Derivative strains from common isolates were manipulated in different laboratories or had undergone multiple passages in the same laboratory. Strains were mapped against reference genomes to detect SNP variation and phylogenetic analysis was performed. RESULTS:The genomes assembled into similar total lengths (range 4.14-4.83 Mbp) and had similar numbers of predicted coding sequences (average of 4,400). Mapping analysis showed the genetic stability of strains through serial passages and culturing in different laboratories, as well as varying levels of similarity to published reference genomes. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the presence of three main clades among the strains and published references, one containing the Shigella flexneri serotype 6 strains, a second containing the remaining S. flexneri serotypes and a third comprised of Shigella sonnei strains. CONCLUSIONS:This work increases the number of the publically available Shigella genomes available and specifically provides information on strains being used for vaccine development by STOPENTERICS. It also provides information on the variability among strains maintained in different laboratories and through serial passage. This work will guide the selection of strains for further vaccine development.
Project description:Shigella spp. are the primary causative agents of bacillary dysentery. Since its emergence in the late 1980s, the S. flexneri serotype 1c remains poorly understood, particularly with regard to its origin and genetic evolution. This article provides a molecular insight into this novel serotype and the gtrIC gene cluster that determines its unique immune recognition.A PCR of the gtrIC cluster showed that serotype 1c isolates from different geographical origins were genetically conserved. An analysis of sequences flanking the gtrIC cluster revealed remnants of a prophage genome, in particular integrase and tRNA(Pro) genes. Meanwhile, Southern blot analyses on serotype 1c, 1a and 1b strains indicated that all the tested serotype 1c strains may have had a common origin that has since remained distinct from the closely related 1a and 1b serotypes. The identification of prophage genes upstream of the gtrIC cluster is consistent with the notion of bacteriophage-mediated integration of the gtrIC cluster into a pre-existing serotype.This is the first study to show that serotype 1c isolates from different geographical origins share an identical pattern of genetic arrangement, suggesting that serotype 1c strains may have originated from a single parental strain. Analysis of the sequence around the gtrIC cluster revealed a new site for the integration of the serotype converting phages of S. flexneri. Understanding the origin of new pathogenic serotypes and the molecular basis of serotype conversion in S. flexneri would provide information for developing cross-reactive Shigella vaccines.
Project description:Shigella flexneri is a leading cause of diarrheal disease in children under five in developing countries. There is currently no licensed vaccine and broad spectrum protection requires coverage of multiple serotypes. The live attenuated vaccines CVD 1213 and CVD 1215 were derived from two prominent S. flexneri serotypes: S. flexneri 3a and S. flexneri 6. To provide broad-spectrum immunity, they could be combined with CVD 1208S, a S. flexneri 2a strain that demonstrated promising results in phase I and II clinical trials. Each strain contains a mutation in the guaBA operon. These vaccine candidates were tested in vitro and in vivo and were found to be auxotrophic for guanine and defective in intracellular replication, but capable of inducing cytokine production from both epithelial cells and macrophages. Both strains were attenuated for virulence in the guinea pig Serény test and induced robust serotype-specific antibody responses following immunization. Each strain induced homologous serotype protection against challenge and a mixed inoculum of the three S. flexneri vaccines conferred protection against all three virulent wild-type strains. These data support the use of CVD 1213, CVD 1215 and CVD 1208S in a multivalent vaccine to confer broad protection against disease caused by Shigella flexneri.
Project description:Shigella flexneri is the major cause of shigellosis in developing countries. A new S. flexneri serotype, Xv, appeared in 2000 and replaced serotype 2a as the most prevalent serotype in China. Serotype Xv is a variant of serotype X, with phosphoethanolamine modification of its O antigen mediated by a plasmid that contained the opt gene. Serotype Xv isolates belong to sequence type 91 (ST91). In this study, whole-genome sequencing of 59 S. flexneri isolates of 14 serotypes (serotypes 1 to 4, Y, Yv, X, and Xv) indicated that ST91 arose around 1993 by acquiring multidrug resistance (MDR) and spread across China within a decade. A comparative analysis of the chromosome and opt-carrying plasmid pSFXv_2 revealed independent origins of 3 serotype Xv clusters in China, with different divergence times. Using 18 cluster-dividing single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), SNP typing divided 380 isolates from 3 provinces (Henan, Gansu, and Anhui) into 5 SNP genotypes (SGs). One SG predominated in each province, but substantial interregional spread of SGs was also evident. These findings suggest that MDR is the key selective pressure for the emergence of the S. flexneri epidemic clone and that Shigella epidemics in China were caused by a combination of local expansion and interregional spread of serotype Xv.
Project description:Bacteria of the genus Shigella are a major cause of death worldwide (L. von Seidlein et al., PLoS Med. 3:e353, 2006). We sequenced the genome of Shigella flexneri strain M90T Sm (serotype 5a) and compared it to the published genome sequence of S. flexneri strain 8401 (serotype 5b).