Association of virulence plasmid and antibiotic resistance determinants with chromosomal multilocus genotypes in Mexican Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strains

Magdalena Wiesner, Mussaret B Zaidi, Edmundo Calva, Marcos Fernández-Mora, Juan J Calva, Claudia Silva
BMC Microbiology 2009, 9: 131

BACKGROUND: Bacterial genomes are mosaic structures composed of genes present in every strain of the same species (core genome), and genes present in some but not all strains of a species (accessory genome). The aim of this study was to compare the genetic diversity of core and accessory genes of a Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhimurium (Typhimurium) population isolated from food-animal and human sources in four regions of Mexico. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and macrorestriction fingerprints by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) were used to address the core genetic variation, and genes involved in pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance were selected to evaluate the accessory genome.

RESULTS: We found a low genetic diversity for both housekeeping and accessory genes. Sequence type 19 (ST19) was supported as the founder genotype of STs 213, 302 and 429. We found a temporal pattern in which the derived ST213 is replacing the founder ST19 in the four geographic regions analyzed and a geographic trend in the number of resistance determinants. The distribution of the accessory genes was not random among chromosomal genotypes. We detected strong associations among the different accessory genes and the multilocus chromosomal genotypes (STs). First, the Salmonella virulence plasmid (pSTV) was found mostly in ST19 isolates. Second, the plasmid-borne betalactamase cmy-2 was found only in ST213 isolates. Third, the most abundant integron, IP-1 (dfrA12, orfF and aadA2), was found only in ST213 isolates. Fourth, the Salmonella genomic island (SGI1) was found mainly in a subgroup of ST19 isolates carrying pSTV. The mapping of accessory genes and multilocus genotypes on the dendrogram derived from macrorestiction fingerprints allowed the establishment of genetic subgroups within the population.

CONCLUSION: Despite the low levels of genetic diversity of core and accessory genes, the non-random distribution of the accessory genes across chromosomal backgrounds allowed us to discover genetic subgroups within the population. This study provides information about the importance of the accessory genome in generating genetic variability within a bacterial population.

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