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BMC Genomics. 2015 Oct 8;16:758. doi: 10.1186/s12864-015-1960-z.

Capsular profiling of the Cronobacter genus and the association of specific Cronobacter sakazakii and C. malonaticus capsule types with neonatal meningitis and necrotizing enterocolitis.

Author information

1
Pathogen Research Group, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, NG11 8NS, Nottingham, UK.
2
Pathogen Research Group, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, NG11 8NS, Nottingham, UK. Stephen.forsythe@ntu.ac.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cronobacter sakazakii and C. malonaticus can cause serious diseases especially in infants where they are associated with rare but fatal neonatal infections such as meningitis and necrotising enterocolitis.

METHODS:

This study used 104 whole genome sequenced strains, covering all seven species in the genus, to analyse capsule associated clusters of genes involved in the biosynthesis of the O-antigen, colanic acid, bacterial cellulose, enterobacterial common antigen (ECA), and a previously uncharacterised K-antigen.

RESULTS:

Phylogeny of the gnd and galF genes flanking the O-antigen region enabled the defining of 38 subgroups which are potential serotypes. Two variants of the colanic acid synthesis gene cluster (CA1 and CA2) were found which differed with the absence of galE in CA2. Cellulose (bcs genes) were present in all species, but were absent in C. sakazakii sequence type (ST) 13 and clonal complex (CC) 100 strains. The ECA locus was found in all strains. The K-antigen capsular polysaccharide Region 1 (kpsEDCS) and Region 3 (kpsMT) genes were found in all Cronobacter strains. The highly variable Region 2 genes were assigned to 2 homology groups (K1 and K2). C. sakazakii and C. malonaticus isolates with capsular type [K2:CA2:Cell(+)] were associated with neonatal meningitis and necrotizing enterocolitis. Other capsular types were less associated with clinical infections.

CONCLUSION:

This study proposes a new capsular typing scheme which identifies a possible important virulence trait associated with severe neonatal infections. The various capsular polysaccharide structures warrant further investigation as they could be relevant to macrophage survival, desiccation resistance, environmental survival, and biofilm formation in the hospital environment, including neonatal enteral feeding tubes.

PMID:
26449318
PMCID:
PMC4599207
DOI:
10.1186/s12864-015-1960-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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