1887

Abstract

expressing serogroup 6 capsules frequently causes pneumococcal infections and the evolutionary origins of the serogroup 6 strains have been extensively studied. However, these studies were performed when serogroup 6 had only two known members (serotypes 6A and 6B) and before the two new members (serotypes 6C and 6D) expressing were found. We have therefore reinvestigated the evolutionary origins of serogroup 6 by examining the profiles of the capsule gene loci and the multilocus sequence types (MLSTs) of many serogroup 6 isolates from several continents. We confirmed that there are two classes of locus sequences for serogroup 6 isolates. In our study, class 2 sequences were limited to a few serotype 6B isolates. Neighbour-joining analysis of sequence profiles showed a distinct clade for 6C and moderately distinct clades for class 1 6A and 6B sequences. The serotype 6D profile was found within the class 1 6B clade, suggesting that it was created by recombination between 6C and 6B loci. Interestingly, all 6C isolates also had a unique allele with a 6 bp deletion. This suggests that serotype switching to 6C involves the transfer of a large (>4 kb) gene segment that includes both the allele and the ‘short’ allele. The MLST studies of serotype 6C isolates suggest that the 6C locus is incorporated into many different pneumococcal genomic backgrounds but that, interestingly, 6C may have preferentially entered strains of the same genomic backgrounds as those of serotype 6A.

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2011-01-01
2020-01-23
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