Identification of variable-number tandem-repeat loci in Leptospira interrogans sensu stricto.
ABSTRACT: Leptospira interrogans sensu stricto is responsible for the most frequent and severe cases of human leptospirosis. The epidemiology and clinical features of leptospirosis are usually associated with the serovars and serogroups of Leptospira. Because of the difficulties associated with serological identification of Leptospira strains, we evaluated a novel PCR-based method for typing L. interrogans serovars. Based upon the genome sequence of L. interrogans serovar Lai type strain 5660, 44 loci were analyzed by PCR for their variability in size due to the presence of variable-number tandem repeats (VNTR). Seven VNTR loci were found to be powerful markers for serovar identification, epidemiology, and phylogenetic studies of L. interrogans. This rapid and easy method should greatly contribute to a better knowledge of the epidemiology of Leptospira.
Project description:Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonosis which is responsible for the typical form of Weil's disease. The epidemiological surveillance of the Leptospira species agent is important for host prevalence control. Although the genotyping methods have progressed, the identification of some serovars remains ambiguous. We investigated the multispacer sequence typing (MST) method for genotyping strains belonging to the species Leptospira interrogans, which is the main agent of leptospirosis worldwide. A total of 33 DNA samples isolated from the reference strains of L. interrogans serogroups Icterohaemorrhagiae, Australis, Canicola, and Grippotyphosa, which are the most prevalent serogroups in France, were analyzed by both the variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) and MST methods. An MST database has been constructed from the DNA of these reference strains to define the MST profiles. The MST profiles corroborated with the VNTR results. Moreover, the MST analysis allowed the identification at the serovar level or potentially to the isolate level for strains belonging to L. interrogans serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae, which then results in a higher resolution than VNTR (Hunter-Gaston index of 0.94 versus 0.68). Regarding L. interrogans serogroups Australis, Canicola, and Grippotyphosa, the MST and VNTR methods similarly identified the genotype. The MST method enabled the acquisition of simple and robust results that were based on the nucleotide sequences. The MST identified clinical isolates in correlation with the reference serovar profiles, thus permitting an epidemiological surveillance of circulating L. interrogans strains, especially for the Icterohaemorrhagiae serogroup, which includes the most prevalent strains of public health interest.
Project description:Leptospirosis is caused by pathogenic spirochetes of the genus Leptospira spp. This zoonotic disease is distributed globally and affects domestic animals, including cattle. Leptospira interrogans serogroup Sejroe serovar Hardjo and Leptospira borgpetersenii serogroup Sejroe serovar Hardjo remain important species associated with this reproductive disease in livestock production. Previous studies on Brazilian livestock have reported that L. interrogans serovar Hardjo is the most prevalent leptospiral agent in this country and is related to clinical signs of leptospirosis, which lead to economic losses in production. Here, we described the isolation of three clinical strains (Norma, Lagoa and Bolivia) obtained from leptospirosis outbreaks that occurred in Minas Gerais state in 1994 and 2008.Serological and molecular typing using housekeeping (secY and 16SrRNA) and rfb locus (ORF22 and ORF36) genes were applied for the identification and comparative analysis of Leptospira spp. Our results identified the three isolates as L. interrogans serogroup Sejroe serovar Hardjo and confirmed the occurrence of this bacterial strain in Brazilian livestock. Genetic analysis using ORF22 and ORF36 grouped the Leptospira into serogroup Sejroe and subtype Hardjoprajitno. Genetic approaches were also applied to compare distinct serovars of L. interrogans strains by verifying the copy numbers of the IS1500 and IS1533 insertion sequences (ISs). The IS1500 copy number varied among the analyzed L. interrogans strains.This study provides evidence that L. interrogans serogroup Sejroe serovar Hardjo subtype Hardjoprajitno causes bovine leptospirosis in Brazilian production. The molecular results suggested that rfb locus (ORF22 and ORF36) could improve epidemiological studies by allowing the identification of Leptospira spp. at the serogroup level. Additionally, the IS1500 and IS1533 IS copy number analysis suggested distinct genomic features among closely related leptospiral strains.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease caused by the genus, Leptospira. Leptospira interrogans is the most common genomospecies implicated in the disease. Epidemiological investigations are needed to distinguish outbreak situations or to trace reservoirs of the organisms. Current methodologies used for typing Leptospira have significant drawbacks. The development of an easy to perform yet high resolution method is needed for this organism. METHODS: In this study we have searched the available genomic sequence of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni strain Fiocruz L1-130 for the presence of tandem repeats. These repeats were evaluated against reference strains for diversity. Six loci were selected to create a Multiple Locus Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (VNTR) Analysis (MLVA) to explore the genetic diversity within L. interrogans serovar Australis clinical isolates from Far North Queensland. RESULTS: The 39 reference strains used for the development of the method displayed 39 distinct patterns. Diversity Indexes for the loci varied between 0.80 and 0.93 and the number of repeat units at each locus varied between less than one to 52 repeats. When the MLVA was applied to serovar Australis isolates three large clusters were distinguishable, each comprising various hosts including Rattus species, human and canines. CONCLUSION: The MLVA described in this report, was easy to perform, analyse and was reproducible. The loci selected had high diversity allowing discrimination between serovars and also between strains within a serovar. This method provides a starting point on which improvements to the method and comparisons to other techniques can be made.
Project description:Rats are considered the principal maintenance hosts of Leptospira. The objectives of this study were isolation and identification of Leptospira serovars circulating among urban rat populations in Kuala Lumpur. Three hundred urban rats (73% Rattus rattus and 27% R. norvegicus) from three different sites were trapped. Twenty cultures were positive for Leptospira using dark-field microscopy. R. rattus was the dominant carrier (70%). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed that all isolates were pathogenic Leptospira species. Two Leptospira serogroups, Javanica and Bataviae, were identified using microscopic agglutination test (MAT). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) identified two serovars in the urban rat populations: L. borgpetersenii serovar Javanica (85%) and L. interrogans serovar Bataviae (15%). We conclude that these two serovars are the major serovars circulating among the urban rat populations in Kuala Lumpur. Despite the low infection rate reported, the high pathogenicity of these serovars raises concern of public health risks caused by rodent transmission of leptospirosis.
Project description:Infectious diseases are the leading causes of death worldwide. Hence, there is a need to develop new antimicrobial agents. Traditional method of drug discovery is time consuming and yields a few drug targets with little intracellular information for guiding target selection. Thus, focus in drug development has been shifted to computational comparative genomics for identifying novel drug targets. Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonosis of global concern caused by Leptospira interrogans. Availability of L. interrogans serovars and human genome sequences facilitated to search for novel drug targets using bioinformatics tools. The genome sequence of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni has 5,124 genes while that of serovar Lai has 4,727 genes. Through subtractive genomic approach 218 genes in serovar Copenhageni and 158 genes in serovar Lai have been identified as putative drug targets. Comparative genomic approach had revealed that 88 drug targets were common to both the serovars. Pathway analysis using the Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes revealed that 66 targets are enzymes and 22 are non-enzymes. Sixty two common drug targets were predicted to be localized in cytoplasm and 16 were surface proteins. The identified potential drug targets form a platform for further investigation in discovery of novel therapeutic compounds against Leptospira.
Project description:Leptospirosis is a neglected zoonosis with worldwide distribution. The causative agents are spirochete bacteria of the Leptospira genus, displaying huge diversity of serovars, the identity of which is critical for effective diagnosis and vaccination purposes. Among many other mammalian species, Leptospira infects cattle, eliciting acute signs in calves, and chronic disease in adult animals often leading to abortions. In South America, and including in Uruguay, beef and dairy export are leading sources of national income. Despite the importance of bovine health, food safety, and bovine-related dissemination of leptospirosis to humans, extremely limited information is available as to the identity of Leptospira species and serovars infecting cattle in Uruguay and the South American subcontinent. Here we report a multicentric 3-year study resulting in the isolation and detailed characterization of 40 strains of Leptospira spp. obtained from infected cattle. Combined serologic and molecular typing identified these isolates as L. interrogans serogroup Pomona serovar Kennewicki (20 strains), L. interrogans serogroup Canicola serovar Canicola (1 strain), L. borgpetersenii serogroup Sejroe serovar Hardjo (10 strains) and L. noguchii (9 strains). The latter showed remarkable phenotypic and genetic variability, belonging to 6 distinct serogroups, including 3 that did not react with a large panel of reference serogrouping antisera. Approximately 20% of cattle sampled in the field were found to be shedding pathogenic Leptospira in their urine, uncovering a threat for public health that is being largely neglected. The two L. interrogans serovars that we isolated from cattle displayed identical genetic signatures to those of human isolates that had previously been obtained from leptospirosis patients. This report of local Leptospira strains shall improve diagnostic tools and the understanding of leptospirosis epidemiology in South America. These strains could also be used as new components within bacterin vaccines to protect against the pathogenic Leptospira strains that are actually circulating, a direct measure to reduce the risk of human leptospirosis.
Project description:Although Leptospira isolation has been reported in Chilean cattle, only serological evidence of serovar Hardjo bovis infection has been routinely reported. The present report provides characterization of the pathological presentation and etiology of a clinical case of leptospirosis in a calf from the Los Rios Region in Chile.In a dairy herd in southern Chile, 11 of 130 calves died after presenting signs such as depression and red-tinged urine. One of these calves, a female of eight months, was necropsied, and all the pathological findings were consistent with Leptospira infection. A urine sample was submitted to conventional bacteriological analysis together with highly specific molecular biology typing tools, in order to unravel the specific Leptospira specie and serovar associated with this clinical case. A significant finding of this study was that the obtained isolate was confirmed by PCR as L. interrogans, its VNTR profile properly matching with L. interrogans Hardjoprajitno as well as its specific genomic identity revealed by secY gen.Leptospira interrogans serovar Hardjoprajitno was associated with the investigated calf clinical case. This information adds to the value of serologic results commonly reported, which encourage vaccination improvements to match circulating strains. In addition, this finding represents the first case report of this serovar in Chilean cattle.
Project description:Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola is one of the most important pathogenic serovars for the maintenance of urban leptospirosis. Even though it is considered highly adapted to dogs, serovar Canicola infection has already been described in other animals and even a few human cases. Here, we present the genomic characterisation of two Brazilian L. interrogans serovar Canicola strains isolated from slaughtered sows (L0-3 and L0-4) and their comparison with human strain Fiocruz LV133. It was observed that the porcine serovar Canicola strains present the genetic machinery to cause human infection and, therefore, represent a higher risk to public health. Both human and porcine serovar Canicola isolates also presented sequences with high identity to the Chinese serovar Canicola published plasmids pGui1 and pGui2. The plasmids identification in the Brazilian and Chinese serovar Canicola strains suggest that extra-chromosomal elements are one more feature of this serovar that was previously unnoticed.
Project description:Leptospira species colonize a significant proportion of rodent populations worldwide and produce life-threatening infections in accidental hosts, including humans. Complete genome sequencing of Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni and comparative analysis with the available Leptospira interrogans serovar Lai genome reveal that despite overall genetic similarity there are significant structural differences, including a large chromosomal inversion and extensive variation in the number and distribution of insertion sequence elements. Genome sequence analysis elucidates many of the novel aspects of leptospiral physiology relating to energy metabolism, oxygen tolerance, two-component signal transduction systems, and mechanisms of pathogenesis. A broad array of transcriptional regulation proteins and two new families of afimbrial adhesins which contribute to host tissue colonization in the early steps of infection were identified. Differences in genes involved in the biosynthesis of lipopolysaccharide O side chains between the Copenhageni and Lai serovars were identified, offering an important starting point for the elucidation of the organism's complex polysaccharide surface antigens. Differences in adhesins and in lipopolysaccharide might be associated with the adaptation of serovars Copenhageni and Lai to different animal hosts. Hundreds of genes encoding surface-exposed lipoproteins and transmembrane outer membrane proteins were identified as candidates for development of vaccines for the prevention of leptospirosis.
Project description:Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonosis, responsible for more than 1 million cases and 60,000 deaths every year. Among the 13 pathogenic species of the genus Leptospira, serovars belonging to L. interrogans serogroup Icterohaemorrhagiae are considered to be the most virulent strains, and responsible for majority of the reported severe cases. Serovars Copenhageni and Icterohaemorrhagiae are major representatives of this serogroup and despite their public health relevance, little is known regarding the genetic differences between these two serovars. In this study, we analyzed the genome sequences of 67 isolates belonging to L. interrogans serovars Copenhageni and Icterohaemorrhagiae to investigate the influence of spatial and temporal variations on DNA sequence diversity. Out of the 1072 SNPs identified, 276 were in non-coding regions and 796 in coding regions. Indel analyses identified 258 indels, out of which 191 were found in coding regions and 67 in non-coding regions. Our phylogenetic analyses based on SNP dataset revealed that both serovars are closely related but showed distinct spatial clustering. However, likelihood ratio test of the indel data statistically confirmed the presence of a frameshift mutation within a homopolymeric tract of lic12008 gene (related to LPS biosynthesis) in all the L. interrogans serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae strains but not in the Copenhageni strains. Therefore, this internal indel identified can genetically distinguish L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni from serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae with high discriminatory power. To our knowledge, this is the first study to identify global sequence variations (SNPs and Indels) in L. interrogans serovars Copenhageni and Icterohaemorrhagiae.