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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2003;84(4):269-78.

Distribution of virulence genes in clinical and environmental isolates of Aeromonas spp.

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Departamento de Ciencias Médicas Básicas, Facultad de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Rovira i Virgili, San Lorenzo 21, Reus 43201, Spain.


The distribution and phenotypic activity of the genes encoding for serine protease, glycerophospholipid-cholesterol acyltransferase, lipases, aerolysin/hemolysin and DNases were investigated in 234 isolates identified by 16S rDNA-RFLP representing all the species of Aeromonas. The former three genes were found to be highly conserved among the genus. Aerolysin/hemolysin and DNase genes and beta-hemolytic activity were significantly more frequent in clinical than in environmental isolates. Aerolysin/hemolysin and serine protease genes were present in all beta-hemolytic strains supporting serine protease as possibly important for the activation of the former gene. The high prevalence of virulence factors in clinical isolates indicates that they may play a role in the mechanisms of pathogenesis of these microorganisms.

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