1,158 research outputs found

    Species-wide whole genome sequencing reveals historical global spread and recent local persistence in Shigella flexneri.

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    Shigella flexneri is the most common cause of bacterial dysentery in low-income countries. Despite this, S. flexneri remains largely unexplored from a genomic standpoint and is still described using a vocabulary based on serotyping reactions developed over half-a-century ago. Here we combine whole genome sequencing with geographical and temporal data to examine the natural history of the species. Our analysis subdivides S. flexneri into seven phylogenetic groups (PGs); each containing two-or-more serotypes and characterised by distinct virulence gene complement and geographic range. Within the S. flexneri PGs we identify geographically restricted sub-lineages that appear to have persistently colonised regions for many decades to over 100 years. Although we found abundant evidence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) determinant acquisition, our dataset shows no evidence of subsequent intercontinental spread of antimicrobial resistant strains. The pattern of colonisation and AMR gene acquisition suggest that S. flexneri has a distinct life-cycle involving local persistence

    A Multifactorial Approach for Surveillance of Shigella spp. and Entero-Invasive Escherichia coli Is Important for Detecting (Inter)national Clusters

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    Shigella spp. and entero-invasive Escherichia coli (EIEC) can cause mild diarrhea to dysentery. In Netherlands, although shigellosis is a notifiable disease, there is no laboratory surveillance for Shigella spp. and EIEC in place. Consequently, the population structure for circulating Shigella spp. and EIEC isolates is not known. This study describes the phenotypic and serological characteristics, the phenotypic and genetic antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles, the virulence gene profiles, the classic multi-locus sequence types (MLST) and core genome (cg)MLST types, and the epidemiology of 414 Shigella spp. and EIEC isolates collected during a cross-sectional study in Netherlands in 2016 and 2017. S. sonnei (56%), S. flexneri (25%), and EIEC (15%) were detected predominantly in Netherlands, of which the EIEC isolates were most diverse according to their phenotypical profile, O-types, MLST types, and cgMLST clades. Virulence gene profiling showed that none of the isolates harbored Shiga toxin genes. Most S. flexneri and EIEC isolates possessed nearly all virulence genes examined, while these genes were only detected in approximately half of the S. sonnei isolates, probably due to loss of the large invasion plasmid upon subculturing. Phenotypical resistance correlated well with the resistant genotype, except for the genes involved in resistance to aminoglycosides. A substantial part of the characterized isolates was resistant to antimicrobials advised for treatment, i.e., 73% was phenotypically resistant to co-trimoxazole and 19% to ciprofloxacin. AMR was particularly observed in isolates from male patients who had sex with men (MSM) or from patients that had traveled to Asia. Furthermore, isolates related to international clusters were also circulating in Netherlands. Travel-related isolates formed clusters with isolates from patients without travel history, indicating their emergence into the Dutch population. In conclusion, laboratory surveillance using whole genome sequencing as high-resolution typing technique and for genetic characterization of isolates complements the current epidemiological surveillance, as the latter is not sufficient to detect all (inter)national clusters, emphasizing the importance of multifactorial public health approaches

    Virulence profiling of Shigella flexneri and emergence of serotype 2b as a highly virulent shigellosis causing strain in Pakistan

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    Bacillary diarrhea caused by Shigella flexneri is mediated by various virulence factors which make it the leading agent of diarrhea in developing countries. Previously, a high prevalence of S. flexneri, associated with diarrhea has been reported in Pakistan but no data is available on their virulence profile. The present study reporting for the first time analysis of various virulence factors among S. flexneri serotypes isolated from clinical (diarrheal stool) and non-clinical (retail raw foods and drinking water) sources. A total of 199 S. flexneri (clinical: 155, raw foods: 22, water: 22) belonging to various serotypes were subjected to virulence genes detection and virulence profiling. The most frequent virulence gene was found to be ipaH (100%), followed by sat (98%), ial (71.3%), set1B (65.8%) and set1A (38.7%). A high level of virulence was detected in serotype 2b as compared to other serotypes as 32.3% of all serotype 2b have the entire set of five virulence genes including ipaH (100%), ial (100%), sat (37.7%), set1A (89.3%), and set1B (100%). Seven different virulence gene profiles (V1 - V7) were detected and the most frequently observed to be V1 (ipaH+, ial+, sat+, set1A+, set1B+) followed by V3 (ipaH+, ial+, sat+, set1B+). The predominant virulence gene pattern in serotype 2b isolated from clinical and non-clinical samples were V1 and V3. Furthermore, about 32% strains belongs to serotype 2b contain the complete set of five virulence genes isolated from patients with high disease severity. In conclusion, the current finding revealed for the first times that serotype 2b was the most virulent strains in both clinical and non-clinical samples in Pakistan. In addition, the virulence of serotype 2b was well correlated with high disease severity

    The evolutionary history of <i>Shigella flexneri</i> serotype 6 in Asia

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    Shigella flexneri serotype 6 is an understudied cause of diarrhoeal diseases in developing countries, and has been proposed as one of the major targets for vaccine development against shigellosis. Despite being named as S. flexneri, Shigella flexneri serotype 6 is phylogenetically distinct from other S. flexneri serotypes and more closely related to S. boydii. This unique phylogenetic relationship and its low sampling frequency have hampered genomic research on this pathogen. Herein, by utilizing whole genome sequencing (WGS) and analyses of Shigella flexneri serotype 6 collected from epidemiological studies (1987-2013) in four Asian countries, we revealed its population structure and evolutionary history in the region. Phylogenetic analyses supported the delineation of Asian Shigella flexneri serotype 6 into two phylogenetic groups (PG-1 and -2). Notably, temporal phylogenetic approaches showed that extant Asian S. flexneri serotype 6 could be traced back to an inferred common ancestor arising in the 18th century. The dominant lineage PG-1 likely emerged in the 1970s, which coincided with the times to most recent common ancestors (tMRCAs) inferred from other major Southeast Asian S. flexneri serotypes. Similar to other S. flexneri serotypes in the same period in Asia, genomic analyses showed that resistance to first-generation antimicrobials was widespread, while resistance to more recent first-line antimicrobials was rare. These data also showed a number of gene inactivation and gene loss events, particularly on genes related to metabolism and synthesis of cellular appendages, emphasizing the continuing role of reductive evolution in the adaptation of the pathogen to an intracellular lifestyle. Together, our findings reveal insights into the genomic evolution of the understudied Shigella flexneri serotype 6, providing a new piece in the puzzle of Shigella epidemiology and evolution.</p

    Accessory Genome Dynamics and Structural Variation of Shigella from Persistent Infections

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    Shigellosis is a diarrheal disease caused mainly by Shigella flexneri and Shigella sonnei Infection is thought to be largely self-limiting, with short- to medium-term and serotype-specific immunity provided following clearance. However, cases of men who have sex with men (MSM)-associated shigellosis have been reported where Shigella of the same serotype were serially sampled from individuals between 1 and 1,862 days apart, possibly due to persistent carriage or reinfection with the same serotype. Here, we investigate the accessory genome dynamics of MSM-associated S. flexneri and S. sonnei isolates serially sampled from individual patients at various days apart to shed light on the adaptation of these important pathogens during infection. We find that pairs likely associated with persistent infection/carriage and with a smaller single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) distance, demonstrated significantly less variation in accessory genome content than pairs likely associated with reinfection, and with a greater SNP distance. We observed antimicrobial resistance acquisition during Shigella carriage, including the gain of an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase gene during carriage. Finally, we explored large chromosomal structural variations and rearrangements in seven (five chronic and two reinfection associated) pairs of S. flexneri 3a isolates from an MSM-associated epidemic sublineage, which revealed variations at several common regions across isolate pairs, mediated by insertion sequence elements and comprising a distinct predicted functional profile. This study provides insight on the variation of accessory genome dynamics and large structural genomic changes in Shigella during persistent infection/carriage. In addition, we have also created a complete reference genome and biobanked isolate of the globally important pathogen, S. flexneri 3a.IMPORTANCE Shigella spp. are Gram-negative bacteria that are the etiological agent of shigellosis, the second most common cause of diarrheal illness among children under the age of five in low-income countries. In high-income countries, shigellosis is also a sexually transmissible disease among men who have sex with men. Within the latter setting, we have captured prolonged and/or recurrent infection with shigellae of the same serotype, challenging the belief that Shigella infection is short lived and providing an early opportunity to study the evolution of the pathogen over the course of infection. Using this recently emerged transmission scenario, we comprehensively characterize the genomic changes that occur over the course of individual infection with Shigella and uncover a distinct functional profile of variable genomic regions, findings that have relevance for other Enterobacteriaceae
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