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Open Access Research article

Genome analysis and CRISPR typing of Salmonella enterica serovar Virchow

Nathan L Bachmann1, Nicola K Petty12, Nouri L Ben Zakour1, Jan M Szubert1, John Savill3* and Scott A Beatson1*

Author Affiliations

1 Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre and School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

2 The ithree institute, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

3 Public Health Microbiology Laboratory, Public and Environmental Health, Forensic and Scientific Services, Queensland Health, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:389  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-389

Published: 21 May 2014

Abstract

Background

Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Virchow has been recognized as a significant health burden in Asia, Australia and Europe. In addition to its global distribution, S. Virchow is clinically significant due to the frequency at which it causes invasive infections and its association with outbreaks arising from food-borne transmission. Here, we examine the genome of an invasive isolate of S. Virchow SVQ1 (phage type 8) from an outbreak in southeast Queensland, Australia. In addition to identifying new potential genotyping targets that could be used for discriminating between S. Virchow strains in outbreak scenarios, we also aimed to carry out a comprehensive comparative analysis of the S. Virchow genomes.

Results

Genome comparisons between S. Virchow SVQ1 and S. Virchow SL491, a previously published strain, identified a high degree of genomic similarity between the two strains with fewer than 200 single nucleotide differences. Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) regions were identified as a highly variable region that could be used to discriminate between S. Virchow isolates. We amplified and sequenced the CRISPR regions of fifteen S. Virchow isolates collected from seven different outbreaks across Australia. We observed three allelic types of the CRISPR region from these isolates based on the presence/absence of the spacers and were able to discriminate S. Virchow phage type 8 isolates originating from different outbreaks. A comparison with 27 published Salmonella genomes found that the S. Virchow SVQ1 genome encodes 11 previously described Salmonella Pathogenicity Islands (SPI), as well as additional genomic islands including a remnant integrative conjugative element that is distinct from SPI-7. In addition, the S. Virchow genome possesses a novel prophage that encodes the Type III secretion system effector protein SopE, a key Salmonella virulence factor. The prophage shares very little similarity to the SopE prophages found in other Salmonella serovars suggesting an independent acquisition of sopE.

Conclusions

The availability of this genome will serve as a genome template and facilitate further studies on understanding the virulence and global distribution of the S. Virchow serovar, as well as the development of genotyping methods for outbreak investigations.