1887

Abstract

Recent interest in characterizing infectious agents associated with bioterrorism has resulted in the development of effective pathogen genotyping systems, but this information is rarely combined with phenotypic data. , the aetiological agent of plague, has been well defined genotypically on local and worldwide scales using multi-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA), with emphasis on evolutionary patterns using old isolate collections from countries where has existed the longest. Worldwide MLVA studies are largely based on isolates that have been in long-term laboratory culture and storage, or on field material from parts of the world where has potentially circulated in nature for thousands of years. Diversity in these isolates suggests that they may no longer represent the wild-type organism phenotypically, including the possibility of altered pathogenicity. This study focused on the phenotypic and genotypic properties of 48 isolates collected from 10 plague foci in and bordering Kazakhstan. Phenotypic characterization was based on diagnostic tests typically performed in reference laboratories working with . MLVA was used to define the genotypic relationships between the central-Asian isolates and a group of North American isolates, and to examine Kazakh diversity according to predefined plague foci and on an intermediate geographical scale. Phenotypic properties revealed that a large portion of this collection lacks one or more plasmids necessary to complete the blocked flea/mammal transmission cycle, has lost Congo red binding capabilities (Pgm), or both. MLVA analysis classified isolates into previously identified biovars, and in some cases groups of isolates collected within the same plague focus formed a clade. Overall, MLVA did not distinguish unique phylogeographical groups of isolates as defined by plague foci and indicated higher genetic diversity among older biovars.

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2007-01-01
2019-10-23
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