1887

Abstract

Pili contribute significantly to the pathogenesis of infection of group B (GBS) by facilitating adhesion and invasion of host cells. GBS pilin subunits (the backbone pilin protein, BP, and the ancillary pilin proteins, AP) as well as the specific enzymes required for pilus assembly are encoded by genes located in two separate genomic regions, known as pilus island 1 (PI-1) and PI-2. Our aim was to characterize the pilus profile of a collection of GBS isolates from metropolitan Toronto, Canada.

The pilus profile of 1332 invasive and colonizing GBS isolates was determined by PCR and, in selected cases, by whole genome sequencing.

While investigating the pilus profile of a collection of GBS organisms, we discovered that 51 isolates possessed a novel variant of the PI-1 BP, which we named BP-1b. The predicted translated sequences of archetypical GBS BP-1 and novel BP-1b variants shared only 63 % amino acid sequence homology. The novel BP-1b variant was most common among strains of serotype Ib and VI, but was also found among strains of serotypes Ia, II, III and VIII.

We describe a relatively frequent occurrence of a novel PI-1 BP that cannot be detected by a commonly used multiplex PCR scheme, which could lead to strains being mistyped as PI-1 negative. We present PCR primers that can easily be incorporated into the multiplex PCR assay to identify strains with novel BP-1b variant.

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2017-10-01
2020-01-21
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