Genotypes Associated with Listeria monocytogenes Isolates Displaying Impaired or Enhanced Tolerances to Cold, Salt, Acid, or Desiccation Stress.
ABSTRACT: The human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes is a large concern in the food industry where its continuous detection in food products has caused a string of recalls in North America and Europe. Most recognized for its ability to grow in foods during refrigerated storage, L. monocytogenes can also tolerate several other food-related stresses with some strains possessing higher levels of tolerances than others. The objective of this study was to use a combination of phenotypic analyses and whole genome sequencing to elucidate potential relationships between L. monocytogenes genotypes and food-related stress tolerance phenotypes. To accomplish this, 166 L. monocytogenes isolates were sequenced and evaluated for their ability to grow in cold (4°C), salt (6% NaCl, 25°C), and acid (pH 5, 25°C) stress conditions as well as survive desiccation (33% RH, 20°C). The results revealed that the stress tolerance of L. monocytogenes is associated with serotype, clonal complex (CC), full length inlA profiles, and the presence of a plasmid which was identified in 55% of isolates. Isolates with full length inlA exhibited significantly (p < 0.001) enhanced cold tolerance relative to those harboring a premature stop codon (PMSC) in this gene. Similarly, isolates possessing a plasmid demonstrated significantly (p = 0.013) enhanced acid tolerance. We also identified nine new L. monocytogenes sequence types, a new inlA PMSC, and several connections between CCs and the presence/absence or variations of specific genetic elements. A whole genome single-nucleotide-variants phylogeny revealed sporadic distribution of tolerant isolates and closely related sensitive and tolerant isolates, highlighting that minor genetic differences can influence the stress tolerance of L. monocytogenes. Specifically, a number of cold and desiccation sensitive isolates contained PMSCs in ?B regulator genes (rsbS, rsbU, rsbV). Collectively, the results suggest that knowing the sequence type of an isolate in addition to screening for the presence of full-length inlA and a plasmid, could help food processors and food agency investigators determine why certain isolates might be persisting in a food processing environment. Additionally, increased sequencing of L. monocytogenes isolates in combination with stress tolerance profiling, will enhance the ability to identify genetic elements associated with higher risk strains.
Project description:Background:Internalins are surface proteins that are utilized by Listeria monocytogenes to facilitate its invasion into human intestinal epithelial cells. The expression of a full-length InlA is one of essential virulence factors for L. monocytogenes to cross the intestinal barrier in order to invade epithelial cells. Results:In this study, the gene sequences of inlA in 120 L. monocytogenes isolates from food (n = 107) and humans (n = 13) were analyzed. Premature stop codon (PMSC) mutations in inlA were identified in 51 isolates (50 from food and 1 from human). Six mutation types of PMSCs were identified. Among the 51 isolates with PMSCs in inlA, there were 44 serogroup 1/2c, 3c isolates from food, of which seven belonged to serogroups 1/2a, 3a. A total of 153,382 SNPs in 2247 core genes from 42 genomes were identified and used to construct a phylogenetic tree. Serotype 1/2c isolates with inlA PMSC mutations were grouped together. Cell culture studies on 21 isolates showed that the invasion to Caco-2 cells was significantly reduced among isolates with inlA PMSC mutations compared to those without PMSC mutations (P < 0.01). The PMSC mutations in inlA correlated with the inability of the L. monocytogenes isolates to invade Caco-2 cells (Pearson's coefficient 0.927, P < 0.01). Conclusion:Overall, the study has revealed the reduced ability of L. monocytogenes to invade human intestinal epithelial cells in vitro was linked to the presence of PMSC mutations in inlA. Isolates with PMSC mutations shared the same genomic characteristics indicating the genetic basis on the potential virulence of L. monocytogenes invasion.
Project description:The virulence factor internalin A (InlA) facilitates the uptake of Listeria monocytogenes by epithelial cells that express the human isoform of E-cadherin. Previous studies identified naturally occurring premature stop codon (PMSC) mutations in inlA and demonstrated that these mutations are responsible for virulence attenuation. We assembled >1,700 L. monocytogenes isolates from diverse sources representing 90 EcoRI ribotypes. A subset of this isolate collection was selected based on ribotype frequency and characterized by a Caco-2 cell invasion assay. The sequencing of inlA genes from isolates with attenuated invasion capacities revealed three novel inlA PMSCs which had not been identified previously among U.S. isolates. Since ribotypes include isolates with and without inlA PMSCs, we developed a multiplex single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping assay to detect isolates with virulence-attenuating PMSC mutations in inlA. The SNP genotyping assay detects all inlA PMSC mutations that have been reported worldwide and verified in this study to date by the extension of unlabeled primers with fluorescently labeled dideoxynucleoside triphosphates. We implemented the SNP genotyping assay to characterize human clinical and food isolates representing common ribotypes associated with novel inlA PMSC mutations. PMSCs in inlA were significantly (ribotypes DUP-1039C and DUP-1045B; P < 0.001) or marginally (ribotype DUP-1062D; P = 0.11) more common among food isolates than human clinical isolates. SNP genotyping revealed a fourth novel PMSC mutation among U.S. L. monocytogenes isolates, which was observed previously among isolates from France and Portugal. This SNP genotyping assay may be implemented by regulatory agencies and the food industry to differentiate L. monocytogenes isolates carrying virulence-attenuating PMSC mutations in inlA from strains representing the most significant health risk.
Project description:Previous studies showed that a considerable proportion of Listeria monocytogenes isolates obtained from foods carry a premature stop codon (PMSC) mutation in inlA that leads to production of a truncated and secreted InlA. To further elucidate the role these mutations play in virulence of L. monocytogenes, we created isogenic mutants, including (i) natural isolates where an inlA PMSC was reverted to a wild-type inlA allele (without a PMSC) and (ii) natural isolates where a PMSC mutation was introduced into a wild-type inlA allele; isogenic mutant sets were constructed to represent two distinct inlA PMSC mutations. Phenotypical and transcriptional analysis data showed that inlA PMSC mutations do not have a polar effect on the downstream inlB. Isogenic and natural strains carrying an inlA PMSC showed significantly reduced invasion efficiencies in Caco-2 and HepG2 cell lines as well as reduced virulence in oral guinea pig infections. Guinea pigs were also orally infected with a natural strain carrying the most common inlA PMSC mutation (vaccinated group), followed by challenge with a fully virulent L. monocytogenes strain 15 days postvaccination to probe potentially immunizing effects of exposure to L. monocytogenes with inlA PMSC mutations. Vaccinated guinea pigs showed reduced bacterial loads in internal organs and improved weight gain postchallenge, indicating reduced severity of infections in guinea pigs exposed to natural strains with inlA PMSC mutations. Our data support that (i) inlA PMSC mutations are causally associated with attenuated virulence in mammalian hosts and (ii) naturally occurring virulence-attenuated L. monocytogenes strains commonly found in food confer protective immunity.
Project description:The surface protein internalin A (InlA) contributes to the invasion of human intestinal epithelial cells by Listeria monocytogenes. Screening of L. monocytogenes strains isolated from human clinical cases (n=46), foods (n=118), and healthy animals (n=58) in the United States revealed mutations in inlA leading to premature stop codons (PMSCs) in L. monocytogenes ribotypes DUP-1052A and DUP-16635A (PMSC mutation type 1), DUP-1025A and DUP-1031A (PMSC mutation type 2), and DUP-1046B and DUP-1062A (PMSC mutation type 3). While all DUP-1046B, DUP-1062A, DUP-16635A, and DUP-1031A isolates (n=76) contained inlA PMSCs, ribotypes DUP-1052A and DUP-1025A (n=72) contained isolates with and without inlA PMSCs. Western immunoblotting showed that all three inlA PMSCs result in the production of truncated and secreted InlA. Searches of the Pathogen Tracker database, which contains subtype and source information for more than 5,000 L. monocytogenes isolates, revealed that the six ribotypes shown to contain isolates with inlA PMSCs were overall more commonly isolated from foods than from human listeriosis cases. L. monocytogenes strains carrying inlA PMSCs also showed significantly (P=0.0004) reduced invasion of Caco-2 cells compared to isolates with homologous 3' inlA sequences without PMSCs. Invasion assays with an isogenic PMSC mutant further supported the observation that inlA PMSCs lead to reduced invasion of Caco-2 cells. Our data show that specific L. monocytogenes subtypes which are common among U.S. food isolates but rare among human listeriosis isolates carry inlA mutations that are associated with, and possibly at least partially responsible for, an attenuated invasion phenotype.
Project description:In Listeria monocytogenes, 18 mutations leading to premature stop codons (PMSCs) in the virulence gene inlA have been identified to date. While most of these mutations represent nucleotide substitutions, a frameshift deletion in a 5' seven-adenine homopolymeric tract (HT) in inlA has also been reported. This HT may play a role in phase variation and was first identified among L. monocytogenes lineage II ribotype DUP-1039C isolates. In order to better understand the distribution of different inlA mutations in this ribotype, a newly developed multiplex real-time PCR assay was used to screen 368 DUP-1039C isolates from human, animal, and food-associated sources for three known 5' inlA HT alleles: (i) wild-type (WT) (A7), (ii) frameshift (FS) (A6), and (iii) guanine interruption (A2GA4) alleles. Additionally, 228 DUP-1039C isolates were screened for all inlA PMSCs; data on the presence of all inlA PMSCs for the other 140 isolates were obtained from previous studies. The statistical analysis based on 191 epidemiologically unrelated strains showed that strains with inlA PMSC mutations (n = 41) were overrepresented among food-associated isolates, while strains encoding full-length InlA (n = 150) were overrepresented among isolates from farm animals and their environments. Furthermore, the A6 allele was overrepresented and the A7 allele was underrepresented among food isolates, while the A6 allele was underrepresented among farm and animal isolates. Our results indicate that genetic variation in inlA contributes to niche adaptation within the lineage II subtype DUP-1039C.
Project description:Listeria monocytogenes is the causative agent of listeriosis, which is an uncommon but severe infection associated with high mortality rates in humans especially in high-risk groups. This bacterium survives a variety of stress conditions (e.g., high osmolality, low pH), which allows it to colonize different niches especially niches found in food processing environments. Additionally, a considerable heterogeneity in pathogenic potential has been observed in different strains. In this study, 38 isolates of L. monocytogenes collected in Chile from clinical samples (n = 22) and non-clinical samples (n = 16) were analyzed using whole genome sequencing (WGS) to determine their genomic diversity. A core genome Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) tree using 55 additional L. monocytogenes accessions classified the Chilean isolates in lineages I (n = 25) and II (n = 13). In silico, Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) differentiated the isolates into 13 sequence types (ST) in which the most common were ST1 (15 isolates) and ST9 (6 isolates) and represented 55% of the isolates. Genomic elements associated with virulence (i.e., LIPI-1, LIPI-3, inlA, inlB, inlC, inlG, inlH, inlD, inlE, inlK, inlF, and inlJ) and stress survival (i.e., stress survival islet 1 and stress survival islet 2) were unevenly distributed among clinical and non-clinical isolates. In addition, one novel inlA premature stop codon (PMSC) was detected. Comparative analysis of L. monocytogenes circulating in Chile revealed the presence of globally distributed sequence types along with differences among the isolates analyzed at a genomic level specifically associated with virulence and stress survival.
Project description:Eighty Listeria monocytogenes isolates were obtained from Chinese retail ready-to-eat (RTE) food and were previously characterized with serotyping and antibiotic susceptibility tests. The aim of this study was to characterize the subtype and virulence potential of these L. monocytogenes isolates by multilocus sequence typing (MLST), virulence-associate genes, epidemic clones (ECs), and sequence analysis of the important virulence factor: internalin A (inlA). The result of MLST revealed that these L. monocytogenes isolates belonged to 14 different sequence types (STs). With the exception of four new STs (ST804, ST805, ST806, and ST807), all other STs observed in this study have been associated with human listeriosis and outbreaks to varying extents. Six virulence-associate genes (inlA, inlB, inlC, inlJ, hly, and llsX) were selected and their presence was investigated using PCR. All strains carried inlA, inlB, inlC, inlJ, and hly, whereas 38.8% (31/80) of strains harbored the listeriolysin S genes (llsX). A multiplex PCR assay was used to evaluate the presence of markers specific to epidemic clones of L. monocytogenes and identified 26.3% (21/80) of ECI in the 4b-4d-4e strains. Further study of inlA sequencing revealed that most strains contained the full-length InlA required for host cell invasion, whereas three mutations lead to premature stop codons (PMSC) within a novel PMSCs at position 326 (GAA ? TAA). MLST and inlA sequence analysis results were concordant, and different virulence potentials within isolates were observed. These findings suggest that L. monocytogenes isolates from RTE food in China could be virulent and be capable of causing human illness. Furthermore, the STs and virulence profiles of L. monocytogenes isolates have significant implications for epidemiological and public health studies of this pathogen.
Project description:Listeriosis is caused by the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, which can be found in seafood and processing plants. To evaluate the risk to human health associated with seafood production in New Zealand, multi-virulence-locus sequence typing (MVLST) was used to define the sequence types (STs) of 31 L. monocytogenes isolates collected from seafood-processing plants, 15 from processed foods, and 6 from human listeriosis cases. The STs of these isolates were then compared with those from a collection of seafood isolates and epidemic strains from overseas. A total of 17 STs from New Zealand clustered into two lineages: seafood-related isolates in lineages I and II and all human isolates in lineage II. None of the New Zealand STs matched previously described STs from other countries. Isolates (belonging to ST01-N and ST03-N) from mussels and their processing environments, however, were identical to those of sporadic listeriosis cases in New Zealand. ST03-N isolates (16 from mussel-processing environments, 2 from humans, and 1 from a mussel) contained an inlA premature stop codon (PMSC) mutation. Therefore, the levels of invasiveness of 22 isolates from ST03-N and the three other common STs were compared using human intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cell lines. STs carrying inlA PMSCs, including ST03-N isolates associated with clinical cases, had a low invasion phenotype. The close relatedness of some clinical and environmental strains, as revealed by identical MVLST profiles, suggests that local and persistent environmental strains in seafood-processing environments pose a potential health risk. Furthermore, a PMSC in inlA does not appear to give L. monocytogenes a noninvasive profile.
Project description:Listeria monocytogenes strains belonging to serotypes 1/2a and 4b are frequently linked to listeriosis. While inlA mutations leading to premature stop codons (PMSCs) and attenuated virulence are common in 1/2a, they are rare in serotype 4b. We observed PMSCs in 35% of L. monocytogenes isolates (n = 54) recovered from the British Columbia food supply, including serotypes 1/2a (30%), 1/2c (100%), and 3a (100%), and a 3-codon deletion (amino acid positions 738 to 740) seen in 57% of 4b isolates from fish-processing facilities. Caco-2 invasion assays showed that two isolates with the deletion were significantly more invasive than EGD-SmR (P < 0.0001) and were either as (FF19-1) or more (FE13-1) invasive than a clinical control strain (08-5578) (P = 0.006). To examine whether serotype 1/2a was more likely to acquire mutations than other serotypes, strains were plated on agar with rifampin, revealing 4b isolates to be significantly more mutable than 1/2a, 1/2c, and 3a serotypes (P = 0.0002). We also examined the ability of 33 strains to adapt to cold temperature following a downshift from 37°C to 4°C. Overall, three distinct cold-adapting groups (CAG) were observed: 46% were fast (<70 h), 39% were intermediate (70 to 200 h), and 15% were slow (>200 h) adaptors. Intermediate CAG strains (70%) more frequently possessed inlA PMSCs than did fast (20%) and slow (10%) CAGs; in contrast, 87% of fast adaptors lacked inlA PMSCs. In conclusion, we report food chain-derived 1/2a and 4b serotypes with a 3-codon deletion possessing invasive behavior and the novel association of inlA genotypes encoding a full-length InlA with fast cold-adaptation phenotypes.
Project description:Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen able to survive and grow in different environments including food processing plants where it can persist for month or years. In the present study the discriminatory power of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)-based analysis (cgMLST) was compared to that of molecular typing methods on 34 L. monocytogenes isolates collected over one year in the same rabbit meat processing plant and belonging to three genotypes (ST14, ST121, ST224). Each genotype included isolates indistinguishable by standard molecular typing methods. The virulence potential of all isolates was assessed by Multi Virulence-Locus Sequence Typing (MVLST) and the investigation of a representative database of virulence determinant genes. The whole genome of each isolate was sequenced on a MiSeq platform. The cgMLST, MVLST, and in silico identification of virulence genes were performed using publicly available tools. Draft genomes included a number of contigs ranging from 13 to 28 and N50 ranging from 456298 to 580604. The coverage ranged from 41 to 187X. The cgMLST showed a significantly superior discriminatory power only in comparison to ribotyping, nevertheless it allows the detection of two singletons belonging to ST14 that were not observed by other molecular methods. All ST14 isolates belonged to VT107, which 7-loci concatenated sequence differs for only 4 nucleotides to VT1 (Epidemic clone III). Analysis of virulence genes showed the presence of a fulllength inlA version in all ST14 isolates and of a mutated version including a premature stop codon (PMSC) associated to attenuated virulence in all ST121 isolates.