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    Campylobacter fetus is a Gram-negative, microaerophilic bacterium that infects animals and humans. The subspecies Campylobacter fetus subsp. fetus (Cff) affects a broad range of vertebrate hosts and induces abortion in cows and sheep. Campylobacter fetus subsp. venerealis (Cfv) is restricted to cattle and causes the endemic disease bovine genital campylobacteriosis, which triggers reproductive problems and is responsible for major economic losses. Campylobacter fetus subsp. testudinum (Cft) has been isolated mostly from apparently healthy reptiles belonging to different species but also from ill snakes and humans. Genotypic differentiation of Cff and Cfv is difficult, and epidemiological information is scarce because there are few methods to study the genetic diversity of the strains. We analyze the efficacy of MLST, ribosomal sequences (23S gene and internal spacer region), and CRISPRs to assess the genetic variability of C. fetus in bovine and human isolates. Sequences retrieved from complete genomes were included in the analysis for comparative purposes. MLST and ribosomal sequences had scarce or null variability, while the CRISPR-cas system structure and the sequence of CRISPR1 locus showed remarkable diversity. None of the sequences here analyzed provided evidence of a genetic differentiation of Cff and Cfv in bovine isolates. Comparison of bovine and human isolates with Cft strains showed a striking divergence. Inter-host differences raise the possibility of determining the original host of human infections using CRISPR sequences. CRISPRs are the most variable sequences analyzed in C. fetus so far, and constitute excellent representatives of a dynamic fraction of the genome. CRISPR typing is a promising tool to characterize isolates and to track the source and transmission route of C. fetus infections. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    Citation

    Lucía Calleros, Laura Betancor, Gregorio Iraola, Alejandra Méndez, Claudia Morsella, Fernando Paolicchi, Silvia Silveyra, Alejandra Velilla, Ruben Pérez. Assessing the intra-species genetic variability in the clonal pathogen Campylobacter fetus: CRISPRs are highly polymorphic DNA markers. Journal of microbiological methods. 2017 Jan;132:86-94

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    PMID: 27867047

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