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Vet Microbiol. 2013 Mar 23;162(2-4):785-92. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2012.10.005. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

Molecular prophage typing of avian pathogenic Escherichia coli.

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Research Institute for Veterinary Science, College of Veterinary Medicine and BK21 for Veterinary Science, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea.


Escherichia coli prophages confer virulence and resistance to physico-chemical, nutritional, and antibiotic stresses on their hosts, and they enhance the evolution of E. coli. Thus, studies on profiles of E. coli prophages are valuable to understand the population structure and evolution of E. coli pathogenicity. Large terminase genes participate in phage genome packaging and are one of the cornerstones for the identification of prophages. Thus, we designed primers to detect 16 types of large terminase genes and analyzed the genomes of 48 E. coli and Shigella reference strains for the prophage markers. We also investigated the distribution of the 16 prophage markers among 92 avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC) strains. APEC strains were classified into 61 prophage types (PPTs). Each strain was different from the reference strains as measured by the PPTs and from the frequency of each prophage marker. Investigation of the distribution of prophage-related serum resistance (bor), toxin (stx1 and cdtI), and T3SS effector (lom, espK, sopE, nleB, and ospG) genes revealed the presence of bor (44.1%), lom (95.5%) and cdtI (9.1%) in APEC strains with related prophages. Therefore, the molecular prophage typing method may be useful to understand population structure and evolution of E. coli pathogenicity, and further studies on the mobility of the prophages and the roles of virulence genes in APEC pathogenicity may be valuable.

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