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Complete genome assembly and characterization of an outbreak strain of the causative agent of swine erysipelas – Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae SY1027

Amy HY Kwok1, Yufeng Li2, Jingwei Jiang1, Ping Jiang2 and Frederick C Leung13*

Author Affiliations

1 Bioinformatics Center, Nanjing Agricultural University, F202, South Block, Faculty of Science Complex, 1 Weigang, Nanjing 210095, China

2 College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Room 4031, 4th floor, Shaw Building, 1 Weigang, Nanjing 210095, China

3 School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, China

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BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:176  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-176

Published: 2 July 2014



Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae is the causative agent of animal erysipelas and, to a fewer occurrences, human erysipeloid. It is ubiquitous in nature and commensal in diverse species of animals, wild or domestic, from mammals and birds to reptiles and fish. Mechanisms of its virulence and pathogenicity are poorly understood.


Making use of the complete genome sequencing of E. rhusiopathiae strain SY1027 and comparative genome analysis between the three highly pathogenic strains (SY1027, Fujisawa and ATCC19414), the genomic structure and putative functional elements, such as pathogenicity island (PAI)-like regions, potential virulence factors and horizontal transferring genes of the bacteria are identified. Strain SY1027 genome is 1,752,910 base pairs long, just 30 kilobases smaller than strain Fujisawa, with the same GC level of 36.36%. It contains 1,845 open reading frames (ORF) predicted by GLIMMER 3.02, of which 1,775 were annotated by PGAAP, 1,757 (~95.23%) were annotated by NCBI nr blast, 1,209 by COG database and 1,076 by KEGG database. 37 potential virulence factors were annotated in strain SY1027 by VFDB, while 19 (~51.35%) of them are common in the 2 strains, 7 of which are potentially related to antibiotic resistance and highly conserved (~98-100% match identity (ID)) amongst the three strains of E. rhusiopathiae and modestly homologous to other gastrointestinal tract-inhabiting Firmicutes (~40% match ID), e.g. Clostridium spp., Enterococcus spp. Genomic island- and pathogenicity island-like regions were also predicted, in which some showed association with tRNA and potential virulence factors.


Complete genome sequencing of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, the causative agent of animal erysipelas, was performed. Molecular identification of various genomic elements pave the way to the better understanding of mechanisms underlying metabolic capabilities, pathogenicity of swine erysipelas and prospective vaccine targets besides the widely used SpaA antigens.

Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae; Complete genome assembly; Genome characterization; Erysipelas; Virulence factors