Whole-Genome Sequencing-Based Characterization of 100 Listeria monocytogenes Isolates Collected from Food Processing Environments over a Four-Year Period

Hurley, Daniel, Luque-Sastre, Laura, Parker, Craig T., Huynh, Steven, Eshwar, Athmanya K., Nguyen, Scott V., Andrews, Nicholas, Moura, Alexandra, Fox, Edward M., Jordan, Kieran, Lehner, Angelika, Stephan, Roger, Fanning, Séamus and D’Orazio, Sarah E. F. (2019) Whole-Genome Sequencing-Based Characterization of 100 Listeria monocytogenes Isolates Collected from Food Processing Environments over a Four-Year Period. mSphere, 4 (4). e00252-19. ISSN 2379-5042

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1128/msphere.00252-19


Listeria monocytogenes is frequently found in foods and processing facilities, where it can persist, creating concerns for the food industry. Its ability to survive under a wide range of environmental conditions enhances the potential for cross-contamination of the final food products, leading to possible outbreaks of listeriosis. In this study, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was applied as a tool to characterize and track 100 L. monocytogenes isolates collected from three food processing environments. These WGS data from environmental and food isolates were analyzed to (i) assess the genomic diversity of L. monocytogenes, (ii) identify possible source(s) of contamination, cross-contamination routes, and persistence, (iii) detect absence/presence of antimicrobial resistance-encoding genes, (iv) assess virulence genotypes, and (v) explore in vivo pathogenicity of selected L. monocytogenes isolates carrying different virulence genotypes. The predominant L. monocytogenes sublineages (SLs) identified were SL101 (21%), SL9 (17%), SL121 (12%), and SL5 (12%). Benzalkonium chloride (BC) tolerance-encoding genes were found in 62% of these isolates, a value that increased to 73% among putative persistent subgroups. The most prevalent gene was emrC followed by bcrABC, qacH-Tn6188, and qacC. The L. monocytogenes major virulence factor inlA was truncated in 31% of the isolates, and only one environmental isolate (L. monocytogenes CFS086) harbored all major virulence factors, including Listeria pathogenicity island 4 (LIPI-4), which has been shown to confer hypervirulence. A zebrafish embryo infection model showed a low (3%) embryo survival rate for all putatively hypervirulent L. monocytogenes isolates assayed. Higher embryo survival rates were observed following infection with unknown virulence potential (20%) and putatively hypovirulent (53 to 83%) L. monocytogenes isolates showing predicted pathogenic phenotypes inferred from virulence genotypes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Listeria monocytogenes, foodborne pathogens, persistence, virulence
Subjects: C500 Microbiology
C700 Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2019 13:32
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 10:34
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/40558

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