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Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains isolated from dairy products — Genetic diversity and virulence gene profiles

Douëllou, T., Delannoy, S., Ganet, S. et al.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are widely recognized as pathogens causing food borne disease. Here we evaluate the genetic diversity of 197 strains, mainly STEC, from serotypes O157:H7, O26:H11, O103:H2, O111:H8 and O145:28 and compared strains recovered in dairy products against strains from human, meat and environment cases. For this purpose, we characterized a set of reference-collection STEC isolates from dairy products by PFGE DNA fingerprinting and a subset of these by virulence-gene profiling. PFGE profiles of restricted STEC total DNA showed high genomic variability (0.9976 on Simpson's discriminatory index), enabling all dairy isolates to be differentiated. High-throughput real-time PCR screening of STEC virulence genes were applied on the O157:H7 and O26:H11 STEC isolates from dairy products and human cases. The virulence gene profiles of dairy and human STEC strains were similar. Nevertheless, frequency-wise, stx1 was more prevalent among dairy O26:H11 isolates than in human cases ones (87% vs. 44%) while stx2 was more prevalent among O26:H11 human isolates (23% vs. 81%). For O157:H7 isolates, stx1 (0% vs. 39%), nleF (40% vs 94%) and Z6065 (40% vs 100%) were more prevalent among human than dairy strains. Our data point to differences between human and dairy strains but these differences were not sufficient to associate PFGE and virulence gene profiles to a putative lower pathogenicity of dairy strains based on their lower incidence in disease. Further comparison of whole-genome expression and virulence gene profiles should be investigated in cheese and intestinal tract samples.

Citation

Douëllou, T., Delannoy, S., Ganet, S. et al. "Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains isolated from dairy products — Genetic diversity and virulence gene profiles" International Journal of Food Microbiology (2016): 52–62