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.
We like to thank Emma Yee (U.S. Department of Agriculture) for the generation of sequence data, we thank James Bono (U.S. Department of Agriculture) for the generation of PacBio RS reads and thank Dr. Brian Brooks and Dr. John Devenish (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) for providing C. fetus strains and for critical review of this manuscript.
Publication charges for this article have been funded by Utrecht University, the Netherlands.
- campylobacter fetus
- Bovine Genital Campylobacteriosis
- Subspecies differentiation
- Core genome SNP analysis
- H2S production
- cysteine transporter