High-resolution typing of Leptospira interrogans strains by multispacer sequence typing

Zilber, A.-L.; Picardeau, M.; Ayral, F.; Artois, M.; Demont, P.; Kodjo, A.; Djelouadji, Z.

Journal of Clinical Microbiology 52(2): 564-571


ISSN/ISBN: 1098-660X
PMID: 24478489
DOI: 10.1128/jcm.02482-13
Accession: 053550485

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Leptospirosis is a worldwide zoonosis which is responsible for the typical form of Weil's disease. The epidemiological surveillance of the Leptospira species agent is important for host prevalence control. Although the genotyping methods have progressed, the identification of some serovars remains ambiguous. We investigated the multispacer sequence typing (MST) method for genotyping strains belonging to the species Leptospira interrogans, which is the main agent of leptospirosis worldwide. A total of 33 DNA samples isolated from the reference strains of L. interrogans serogroups Icterohaemorrhagiae, Australis, Canicola, and Grippotyphosa, which are the most prevalent serogroups in France, were analyzed by both the variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) and MST methods. An MST database has been constructed from the DNA of these reference strains to define the MST profiles. The MST profiles corroborated with the VNTR results. Moreover, the MST analysis allowed the identification at the serovar level or potentially to the isolate level for strains belonging to L. interrogans serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae, which then results in a higher resolution than VNTR (Hunter-Gaston index of 0.94 versus 0.68). Regarding L. interrogans serogroups Australis, Canicola, and Grippotyphosa, the MST and VNTR methods similarly identified the genotype. The MST method enabled the acquisition of simple and robust results that were based on the nucleotide sequences. The MST identified clinical isolates in correlation with the reference serovar profiles, thus permitting an epidemiological surveillance of circulating L. interrogans strains, especially for the Icterohaemorrhagiae serogroup, which includes the most prevalent strains of public health interest.