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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jan;73(1):133-47. Epub 2006 Nov 3.

A single-nucleotide-polymorphism-based multilocus genotyping assay for subtyping lineage I isolates of Listeria monocytogenes.

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  • 1Microbial Genomics and Bioprocessing Research Unit, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1815 North University Street, Peoria, IL 61604, USA.


Listeria monocytogenes is a facultative intracellular pathogen responsible for food-borne disease with high mortality rates in humans and is the leading microbiological cause of food recalls. Lineage I isolates of L. monocytogenes are a particular public health concern because they are responsible for most sporadic cases of listeriosis and the vast majority of epidemic outbreaks. Rapid, reproducible, and sensitive methods for differentiating pathogens below the species level are required for effective pathogen control programs, and the CDC PulseNet Task Force has called for the development and validation of DNA sequence-based methods for subtyping food-borne pathogens. Therefore, we developed a multilocus genotyping (MLGT) assay for L. monocytogenes lineage I isolates based on nucleotide variation identified by sequencing 23,251 bp of DNA from 22 genes distributed across seven genomic regions in 65 L. monocytogenes isolates. This single-well assay of 60 allele-specific probes captured 100% of the haplotype information contained in approximately 1.5 Mb of comparative DNA sequence and was used to reproducibly type a total of 241 lineage I isolates. The MLGT assay provided high discriminatory power (Simpson's index value, 0.91), uniquely identified isolates from the eight listeriosis outbreaks examined, and differentiated serotypes 1/2b and 4b as well as epidemic clone I (ECI), ECIa, and ECII. In addition, the assay included probes for a previously characterized truncation mutation in inlA, providing for the identification of a specific virulence-attenuated subtype. These results demonstrate that MLGT represents a significant new tool for use in pathogen surveillance, outbreak detection, risk assessment, population analyses, and epidemiological investigations. DNA sequences were deposited in the GenBank database under accession numbers DQ 812146 to DQ 812517, DQ 843664 to DQ 844598, and AY 512391 to AY 512502.

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