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Open Access Research article

Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profile homogeneity of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates from cattle and heterogeneity of those from sheep and goats

Iker Sevilla, Joseba M Garrido, Marivi Geijo and Ramon A Juste*

Author Affiliations

Instituto Vasco de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario (NEIKER), Berreaga, 1, 48160 Derio, Bizkaia, Spain

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BMC Microbiology 2007, 7:18  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-7-18

Published: 12 March 2007

Abstract

Background

Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Map) causes paratuberculosis in animals and is suspected of causing Crohn's Disease in humans. Characterization of strains led to classify paratuberculosis isolates in two main types, cattle type strains, found affecting all host species, and sheep type strains, reported affecting mainly sheep. In order to get a better understanding of the epidemiology of paratuberculosis a large set of Map isolates obtained from different species over the last 25 years have been characterized. Five-hundred and twenty isolates from different hosts (cattle, sheep, goats, bison, deer and wild boar) and origins had been cultured and typed by IS1311 restriction-endonuclease-analysis. Two-hundred and sixty-nine isolates were further characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) using SnaBI and SpeI endonucleases. Differences in strain isolation upon various media conditions were also studied.

Results

All bovines, 4 and 26% of Spanish sheep and goats, respectively, and the deer and wild boar studied, carried IS1311-Cattle type strains. IS1311-Sheep type encompassed 96% and 74% of Spanish sheep and goats, and all three Portuguese sheep. Thirty-seven distinct multiplex PFGE profiles were found, giving 32 novel profiles. Profiles 2-1 and 1-1 accounted for the 85% of cattle isolates. Ten distinct profiles were detected in Spanish sheep, none of them with an incidence higher than 25%. Profile 16-11 (43%) and another three profiles were identified in Spanish caprine cultures. The hierarchical analysis, clustered all profiles found in cattle, "wild" hosts and some small ruminants within the same group. The other group included 11 profiles only found in Spanish sheep and goats, including Spanish pigmented profiles. Differences in growth requirements associated with isolate genotype were observed.

Conclusion

Cattle in Spain are infected with cattle type strains, while sheep and goats are mainly infected with sheep type strains. Although 7H9 broth based culture media seem to broadly cover the growth requirements of most Map strains, the use of various solid media is recommended to reduce any recovery biases. High genetic homogeneity of isolates from cattle, and heterogeneity of those from sheep and goats have been detected.