Isolation of pathogenic Leptospira strains from naturally infected cattle in Uruguay reveals high serovar diversity, and uncovers a relevant risk for human leptospirosis.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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: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:Comparative genomic hybridization was used to compare genetic diversity of five strains of Leptospira (Leptospira interrogans serovars Bratislava, Canicola, and Hebdomadis and Leptospira kirschneri serovars Cynopteri and Grippotyphosa). The array was designed based on two available sequenced Leptospira reference genomes, those of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni and L. interrogans serovar Lai. A comparison of genetic contents showed that L. interrogans serovar Bratislava was closest to the reference genomes while L. kirschneri serovar Grippotyphosa had the least similarity to the reference genomes. Cluster analysis indicated that L. interrogans serovars Bratislava and Hebdomadis clustered together first, followed by L. interrogans serovar Canicola, before the two L. kirschneri strains. Confirmed/potential virulence factors identified in previous research were also detected in the tested strains.
Project description:Leptospirosis is a widespread systemic zoonosis, considered as reemerging in certain developing countries. Although the cross agglutinin absorption test is still considered the standard method for Leptospira identification, it presents several disadvantages. The aim of this study was to characterize Leptospira spp. isolated from various hosts by genotyping and broth microdilution susceptibility testing in an attempt to differentiate Leptospira species, serogroups and serovars. Forty-seven isolates were studied. They were previously serotyped, and species confirmation was performed by 16S rRNA sequencing. Single-enzyme amplified fragment length polymorphism (SE-AFLP) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis enabled the distinction of L. interrogans from L. santarosai, L. meyeri and L. borgpetersenii in two main clusters. Among L. interrogans, it was possible to differentiate into two new clusters the serogroup Icterohaemorrhagiae from the serogroups Canicola and Pomona. L. santarosai isolates presented higher genetic variation than the other species in both techniques. Interestingly, the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) cluster analysis also provided Leptospira serogroup differentiation. Further studies are necessary regarding serovar Bananal isolates, as they presented the highest MIC values for most of the antimicrobials tested. All studied techniques successfully distinguished Leptospira species and serogroups. Despite being library-dependent methods, these approaches are less labor intensive and more economically viable, particularly SE-AFLP, and can be implemented in most reference laboratories worldwide to enable faster Leptospira typing.
Project description: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, 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.
Project description:Over 230 serovars of Leptospira interrogans have been identified; however few have been completely characterised. The aim of this study was to characterise the proteome of serovar Canicola and to compare this against the serovars of Copenhageni and Pomona. 2D-LC/MS analysis identified 1653 Leptospira proteins in serovar Canicola; 60 of these proteins were common to Copenhageni and Pomona, 16 of which are known to be immunogenic. This study provides the first reported proteome for serovar Canicola and suggests that proteomic comparison of different serovars could be used as a tool for identification of novel target molecules for vaccine development.
Project description:Rats are known to be the most important reservoirs and transmission sources of leptospirosis. However, the status of leptospirosis in the Philippines regarding reservoirs and transmission remains unknown. A survey was conducted in Metro Manila and Laguna that analyzed samples obtained from 106 rats. Using the microscopic agglutination test, we found that 92% of rat serum samples were positive for anti-Leptospira antibodies; the most common infecting serovars were Manilae, Hebdomadis, and Losbanos. On the basis of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and gyrase B gene sequence analyses, four groups of rat kidney isolates were found: L. interrogans serovar Manilae, serovar Losbanos, and serogroup Grippotyphosa, and L. borgpetersenii serogroup Javanica. Most isolates were lethal after experimental infection of golden Syrian hamsters. Results showed that these four Leptospira serovars and serogroups are circulating among rats, and that these animals may be one of the possible transmission sources of leptospirosis in the Philippines.
Project description:The burden of leptospirosis in humans and animals in Africa is higher than that reported from other parts of the world. However, the disease is not routinely diagnosed in the continent. One of major factors limiting diagnosis is the poor availability of live isolates of locally circulating Leptospira serovars for inclusion in the antigen panel of the gold standard microscopic agglutination test (MAT) for detecting antibodies against leptospirosis. To gain insight in Leptospira serovars and their natural hosts occurring in Tanzania, concomitantly enabling the improvement of the MAT by inclusion of fresh local isolates, a total of 52 Leptospira isolates were obtained from fresh urine and kidney homogenates, collected between 1996 and 2006 from small mammals, cattle and pigs. Isolates were identified by serogrouping, cross agglutination absorption test (CAAT), and molecular typing. Common Leptospira serovars with their respective animal hosts were: Sokoine (cattle and rodents); Kenya (rodents and shrews); Mwogolo (rodents); Lora (rodents); Qunjian (rodent); serogroup Grippotyphosa (cattle); and an unknown serogroup from pigs. Inclusion of local serovars particularly serovar Sokoine in MAT revealed a 10-fold increase in leptospirosis prevalence in Tanzania from 1.9% to 16.9% in rodents and 0.26% to 10.75% in humans. This indicates that local serovars are useful for diagnosis of human and animal leptospirosis in Tanzania and other African countries.