PCR detection, characterization, and distribution of virulence genes in Aeromonas spp.

Kingombe, Cesar Isigidi Bin and Huys, Geert and Tonolla, Mauro and Albert, M. John and Swings, Jean and Peduzzi, Raffaele and Jemmi, Thomas (1999) PCR detection, characterization, and distribution of virulence genes in Aeromonas spp. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 65 (12). pp. 5293-5302. ISSN 0099-2240

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We found 73.1 to 96.9% similarity by aligning the cytolytic enterotoxin gene of Aeromonas hydrophila SSU (AHCYTOEN; GenBank accession no. M84709) against aerolysin genes of Aeromonas spp., suggesting the possibility of selecting common primers. Identities of 90 to 100% were found among the eight selected primers from those genes. Amplicons obtained from Aeromonas sp. reference strains by using specific primers for each gene or a cocktail of primers were 232 bp long. Of hybridization group 4/5A/5B (HG4/5A/5B), HG9, and HG12 or non-Aeromonas reference strains, none were positive. PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) with HpaII yielded three types of patterns. PCR-RFLP 1 contained two fragments (66 and 166 bp) found in HG6, HG7, HG8, HG10, and HG11. PCR-RFLP 2 contained three fragments (18, 66, and 148 bp) found in HG1, HG2, HG3, and HG11. PCR-RFLP 3, with four fragments (7, 20, 66, and 139 bp), was observed only in HG13. PCR-amplicon sequence analysis (PCR-ASA) revealed three main types. PCR-ASA 1 had 76 to 78% homology with AHCYTOEN and included strains in HG6, HG7, HG8, HG10, and HG11. PCR-ASA 2, with 82% homology, was found only in HG13. PCR-ASA 3, with 91 to 99% homology, contained the strains in HG1, HG2, HG3, and HG11. This method indicated that 37 (61%) of the 61 reference strains were positive with the primer cocktail master mixture, and 34 (58%) of 59 environmental isolates, 93 (66%) of 141 food isolates, and 100 (67%) of 150 clinical isolates from around the world carried a virulence factor when primers AHCF1 and AHCR1 were used. In conclusion, this PCR-based method is rapid, sensitive, and specific for the detection of virulence factors of Aeromonas spp. It overcomes the handicap of time-consuming biochemical and other DNA-based methods.

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