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Whole genome sequencing for typing and characterisation of Listeria monocytogenes isolated in a rabbit meat processing plant

Federica Palma, Frédérique Pasquali, Alex Lucchi, Alessandra De Cesare, Gerardo Manfreda
  • Federica Palma
    Department of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum- University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • Frédérique Pasquali
    Department of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum- University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy | frederique.pasquali@unibo.it
  • Alex Lucchi
    Department of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum- University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • Alessandra De Cesare
    Department of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum- University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • Gerardo Manfreda
    Department of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum- University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Whole genome sequencing; Listeria monocytogenes; Rabbit meat; cgMLST; Virulence genes

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Submitted: 2017-07-06 16:27:22
Published: 2017-09-28 10:17:12
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Copyright (c) 2017 Federica Palma, Frederique Pasquali, Alex Lucchi, Alessandra De Cesare, Gerardo Manfreda

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