Development of a comparative genomic fingerprinting assay for rapid and high resolution genotyping of Arcobacter butzleri.

Webb, A.L., Kruczkiewicz, P., Selinger, L.B., Taboada, E.N., and Inglis, G.D. (2015). "Development of a comparative genomic fingerprinting assay for rapid and high resolution genotyping of Arcobacter butzleri.", BMC Microbiology, 15(94), pp. 1-12. doi : 10.1186/s12866-015-0426-4  Access to full text


Background: Molecular typing methods are critical for epidemiological investigations, facilitating disease outbreak detection and source identification. Study of the epidemiology of the emerging human pathogen Arcobacter butzleri is currently hampered by the lack of a subtyping method that is easily deployable in the context of routine epidemiological surveillance. In this study we describe a comparative genomic fingerprinting (CGF) method for high-resolution and high-throughput subtyping of A. butzleri. Comparative analysis of the genome sequences of eleven A. butzleri strains, including eight strains newly sequenced as part of this project, was employed to identify accessory genes suitable for generating unique genetic fingerprints for high-resolution subtyping based on gene presence or absence within a strain. Results: A set of eighty-three accessory genes was used to examine the population structure of a dataset comprised of isolates from various sources, including human and non-human animals, sewage, and river water (n=156). A streamlined assay (CGF40) based on a subset of 40 genes was subsequently developed through marker optimization. High levels of profile diversity (121 distinct profiles) were observed among the 156 isolates in the dataset, and a high Simpson’s Index of Diversity (ID) observed (ID > 0.969) indicate that the CGF40 assay possesses high discriminatory power. At the same time, our observation that 115 isolates in this dataset could be assigned to 29 clades with a profile similarity of 90% or greater indicates that the method can be used to identify clades comprised of genetically similar isolates. Conclusions: The CGF40 assay described herein combines high resolution and repeatability with high throughput for the rapid characterization of A. butzleri strains. This assay will facilitate the study of the population structure and epidemiology of A. butzleri.

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