Author(s): Borucki MK, Kim SH, Call DR, Smole SC, Pagotto F
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Abstract Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious illness in humans, and subsequent epidemiological investigation requires molecular characterization to allow the identification of specific isolates. L. monocytogenes is usually characterized by serotyping and is subtyped by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) or ribotyping. DNA microarrays provide an alternative means to resolve genetic differences among isolates, and unlike PFGE and ribotyping, microarrays can be used to identify specific genes associated with strains of interest. Twenty strains of L. monocytogenes representing six serovars were used to generate a shotgun library, and subsequently a 629-probe microarray was constructed by using features that included only potentially polymorphic gene probe sequences. Fifty-two strains of L. monocytogenes were genotyped by using the condensed array, including strains associated with five major listeriosis epidemics. Cluster analysis of the microarray data grouped strains according to phylogenetic lineage and serotype. Most epidemiologically linked strains were grouped together, and subtyping resolution was the same as that with PFGE (using AscI and ApaI) and better than that with multilocus sequence typing (using six housekeeping genes) and ribotyping. Additionally, a majority of epidemic strains were grouped together within phylogenetic Division I. This epidemic cluster was clearly distinct from the two other Division I clusters, which encompassed primarily sporadic and environmental strains. Discriminant function analysis allowed identification of 22 probes from the mixed-genome array that distinguish serotypes and subtypes, including several potential markers that were distinct for the epidemic cluster. Many of the subtype-specific genes encode proteins that likely confer survival advantages in the environment and/or host.
This article was published in J Clin Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology