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Can J Microbiol. 2004 Jun;50(6):433-43.

Genetic analysis of Canadian isolates of C:2a:P1.2,5 and B:2a:P1.2,5 Neisseria meningitidis strains belonging to the hypervirulent clone of ET-15.

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Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, Winnipeg, Canada.


Isolates of the hypervirulent Neisseria meningitidis clone ET-15 found to express the serogroup B antigen were investigated and compared with representative members of serogroup B and C isolates. Clonal-clustering methods clearly grouped the B:ET15 isolates with C:ET15 isolates, indicating the only major difference between the two groups was in the capsule expressed. The organization of the cps operon from the B:ET15 isolates was found to be consistent with typical serogroup B isolates and differed from serogroup C isolates only in the sialyl transferase gene present. This suggests that these strains arose via recombination of the sialyl transferase gene. Specific points of recombination could not be identified, however, the majority (64%) of the B:ET15 isolates contained a copy of pseudo-IS1106 downstream of the cps operon indicating the potential for a common ancestral origin. The combination of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and sequence analysis of targeted regions of the cps operon permitted the differentiation of most B:ET15 isolates indicating that they likely arose from separate genetic events and do not represent the emergence and spread of a new clone. However, two isolates that appeared identical by all methods employed were temporally and geographically related although no epidemiological evidence is available indicating a link between these strains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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