Mobile Elements Harboring Heavy Metal and Bacitracin Resistance Genes Are Common among Listeria monocytogenes Strains Persisting on Dairy Farms

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Castro , H , Douillard , F , Korkeala , H & Lindström , M 2021 , ' Mobile Elements Harboring Heavy Metal and Bacitracin Resistance Genes Are Common among Listeria monocytogenes Strains Persisting on Dairy Farms ' , Msphere , vol. 6 , no. 4 , e0038321 . https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00383-21 , https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00733-21

Title: Mobile Elements Harboring Heavy Metal and Bacitracin Resistance Genes Are Common among Listeria monocytogenes Strains Persisting on Dairy Farms
Author: Castro, Hanna; Douillard, Francois; Korkeala, Hannu; Lindström, Miia
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Food Hygiene and Environmental Health
University of Helsinki, Food Hygiene and Environmental Health
University of Helsinki, Helsinki One Health (HOH)
University of Helsinki, Helsinki One Health (HOH)
Date: 2021-07-07
Language: eng
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: Msphere
ISSN: 2379-5042
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/336543
Abstract: Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen and a resilient environmental saprophyte. Dairy farms are a reservoir of L. monocytogenes, and strains can persist on farms for years. Here, we sequenced the genomes of 250 L. monocytogenes isolates to investigate the persistence and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) of Listeria strains inhabiting dairy farms. We performed a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based phylogenomic analysis to identify 14 monophyletic clades of L. monocytogenes persistent on the farms for ≥6 months. We found that prophages and other mobile genetic elements were, on average, more numerous among isolates in persistent than nonpersistent clades, and we demonstrated that resistance genes against bacitracin, arsenic, and cadmium were significantly more prevalent among isolates in persistent than nonpersistent clades. We identified a diversity of mobile elements among the 250 farm isolates, including three novel plasmids, three novel transposons, and a novel prophage harboring cadmium resistance genes. Several of the mobile elements we identified in Listeria were identical to the mobile elements of enterococci, which is indicative of recent transfer between these genera. Through a genome-wide association study, we discovered that three putative defense systems against invading prophages and plasmids were negatively associated with persistence on farms. Our findings suggest that mobile elements support the persistence of L. monocytogenes on dairy farms and that L. monocytogenes inhabiting the agroecosystem is a potential reservoir of mobile elements that may spread to the food industry. IMPORTANCE Animal-derived raw materials are an important source of L. monocytogenes in the food industry. Knowledge of the factors contributing to the pathogen's transmission and persistence on farms is essential for designing effective strategies against the spread of the pathogen from farm to fork. An increasing body of evidence suggests that mobile genetic elements support the adaptation and persistence of L. monocytogenes in the food industry, as these elements contribute to the dissemination of genes encoding favorable phenotypes, such as resilience against biocides. Understanding of the role of farms as a potential reservoir of these elements is needed for managing the transmission of mobile elements across the food chain. Because L. monocytogenes coinhabits the farm ecosystem with a diversity of other bacterial species, it is important to assess the degree to which genetic elements are exchanged between Listeria and other species, as such exchanges may contribute to the rise of novel resistance phenotypes.
Subject: 11832 Microbiology and virology
416 Food Science
one health
agroecosystems
antimicrobial resistance
biocide resistance
comparative genomics
environmental microbiology
food safety
heavy metal resistance
mobile genetic elements
persistence
1172 Environmental sciences
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