Publications

Whole genome sequence analysis indicates recent diversification of mammal-associated Campylobacter fetus and implicates a genetic factor associated with H<sub>2</sub>S production

Graaf-van Bloois, Linda van der; Duim, Birgitta; Miller, William G.; Forbes, Ken J.; Wagenaar, Jaap A.; Zomer, Aldert

Summary

Background: Campylobacter fetus (C. fetus) can cause disease in both humans and animals. C. fetus has been divided into three subspecies: C. fetus subsp. fetus (Cff), C. fetus subsp. venerealis (Cfv) and C. fetus subsp. testudinum (Cft). Subspecies identification of mammal-associated C. fetus strains is crucial in the control of Bovine Genital Campylobacteriosis (BGC), a syndrome associated with Cfv. The prescribed methods for subspecies identification of the Cff and Cfv isolates are: tolerance to 1 % glycine and H2S production. Results: In this study, we observed the deletion of a putative cysteine transporter in the Cfv strains, which are not able to produce H2S from L-cysteine. Phylogenetic reconstruction of the core genome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within Cff and Cfv strains divided these strains into five different clades and showed that the Cfv clade and a Cff clade evolved from a single Cff ancestor. Conclusions: Multiple C. fetus clades were observed, which were not consistent with the biochemical differentiation of the strains. This suggests the need for a closer evaluation of the current C. fetus subspecies differentiation, considering that the phenotypic differentiation is still applied in BGC control programs.