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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 11;8(6):e65342. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065342. Print 2013.

Population structure and evolution of non-O1/non-O139 Vibrio cholerae by multilocus sequence typing.

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School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Pathogenic non-O1/non-O139 Vibrio cholerae strains can cause sporadic outbreaks of cholera worldwide. In this study, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of seven housekeeping genes was applied to 55 non-O1/non-O139 isolates from clinical and environmental sources. Data from five published O1 isolates and 17 genomes were also included, giving a total of 77 isolates available for analysis. There were 66 sequence types (STs), with the majority being unique, and only three clonal complexes. The V. cholerae strains can be divided into four subpopulations with evidence of recombination among the subpopulations. Subpopulations I and III contained predominantly clinical strains. PCR screening for virulence factors including Vibrio pathogenicity island (VPI), cholera toxin prophage (CTXΦ), type III secretion system (T3SS), and enterotoxin genes (rtxA and sto/stn) showed that combinations of these factors were present in the clinical isolates with 85.7% having rtxA, 51.4% T3SS, 31.4% VPI, 31.4% sto/stn (NAG-ST) and 11.4% CTXΦ. These factors were also present in environmental isolates but at a lower frequency. Five strains previously mis-identified as V. cholerae serogroups O114 to O117 were also analysed and formed a separate population with V. mimicus. The MLST scheme developed in this study provides a framework to identify sporadic cholera isolates by genetic identity.

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