1887

Abstract

subsp. Typhimurium and its monophasic variant I 1;4,[5],12:i:- (MVST) are responsible for thousands of reported cases of salmonellosis each year in Canada, and countries worldwide. We investigated . Typhimurium and MVST isolates recovered from raw shellfish harvested in Atlantic Canada by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) over the past decade, to assess the potential impact of these isolates on human illness and to explore possible routes of shellfish contamination. Whole-genome sequence analysis was performed on 210 isolates of . Typhimurium and MVST recovered from various food sources, including shellfish. The objective was to identify genetic markers linked to ST-99, a sequence type specifically associated with shellfish, which could explain their high prevalence in shellfish. We also investigated the genetic similarity amongst CFIA ST-99 isolates recovered in different years and geographical locations. Finally, the study aimed to enhance the molecular serotyping of ST-99 isolates, as they are serologically classified as MVST but are frequently misidentified as . Typhimurium through sequence analysis. To ensure recovery of ST-99 from shellfish was not due to favourable growth kinetics, we measured the growth rates of these isolates relative to other and determined that ST-99 did not have a faster growth rate and/or shorter lag phase than other evaluated. The CFIA ST-99 isolates from shellfish were highly clonal, with up to 81 high-quality single nucleotide variants amongst isolates. ST-99 isolates both within the CFIA collection and those isolated globally carried numerous unique deletions, insertions and mutations in genes, including some considered important for virulence, such as gene deletions in the type VI secretion system. Interestingly, several of these genetic characteristics appear to be unique to North America. Most notably was a large genomic region showing a high prevalence in genomes from Canadian isolates compared to those from the USA. Although the functions of the majority of the proteins encoded within this region remain unknown, the genes and , known to be protective against UV light damage, were present. While this study did not specifically examine the effects of mutations and insertions, results indicate that these isolates may be adapted to survive in specific environments, such as ocean water, where wild birds and/or animals serve as the natural hosts. Our hypothesis is reinforced by a global phylogenetic analysis, which indicates that isolates obtained from North American shellfish and wild birds are infrequently connected to isolates from human sources. These findings suggest a distinct ecological niche for ST-99, potentially indicating their specialization and adaptation to non-human hosts and environments, such as oceanic habitats.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    • Principle Award Recipient: LisaHodges
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.
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2024-05-16
2024-06-18
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