The presence of a serotype Enteritidis repeat element (SERE) located within the upstream regulatory region of the operon encoding fimbrial proteins is reported. DNA dot–blot hybridisation analyses and computerised searches of genetic databases indicate that SERE is well conserved and widely distributed throughout the bacterial and archaeal kingdoms. A SERE-based polymerase chain reaction (SERE-PCR) assay was developed to fingerprint 54 isolates of Enteritidis representing nine distinct phage types and 54 isolates of other serotypes. SERE-PCR identified five distinct fingerprint profiles among the 54 Enteritidis isolates; no correlation between phage types and SERE-PCR fingerprint patterns was noticed. SERE-PCR was reproducible, rapid and easy to perform. The results of this investigation suggest that the limited heterogeneity of SERE-PCR fingerprint patterns can be utilised to develop serotype- and serogroup-specific fingerprint patterns for isolates of Enteritidis.


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