1887

Abstract

is a heterogeneous bacterial species that can be virulent for humans and fish. Virulence in fish seems to rely on a recently described plasmid that can be transmitted between strains, aided by a conjugative plasmid. The main objective of this work was to analyse the plasmid content of a wide collection of strains from the three biotypes of the species, as well as to identify putative conjugative and virulence plasmids by means of Southern hybridization with specific probes and sequence analysis of selected gene markers. We found 28 different plasmid profiles in a total of 112 strains, which were relatively biotype- or serovar-specific. Biotype 1 lacked high-molecular-mass plasmids, with the exception of a putative conjugative plasmid of 48 kb that was present in 42.8 % of clinical and environmental strains isolated worldwide. All biotype 2 strains possessed the virulence plasmid, whose molecular mass ranged between 68 and 70 kb, and 89.65 % of these strains also had a putative conjugative plasmid with a molecular size of 52–56 kb. Finally, a 48 kb putative conjugative plasmid was present in all biotype 3 strains. Data from partial sequencing of , and the whole (a recently described plasmid-borne virulence gene) from a selection of strains suggest that the plasmids of 48–56 kb probably belong to the same family of F-plasmids as pYJ016 and that the gene is absolutely essential for fish virulence. Additional cryptic plasmids of low molecular mass were present in the three biotypes. In conclusion, plasmids are widespread among species and could contribute substantially to genetic plasticity of the species.

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2009-02-01
2019-12-08
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