Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.454, No.3, 399-403, 2014
Comparative analysis of CRISPR loci in different Listeria monocytogenes lineages
Listeria monocytogenes, an important food-borne pathogen, causes high mortality rate of listeriosis. Pangenomic comparisons revealed the species genome of L monocytogenes is highly stable but not completely clonal. The population structure of this species displays at least four evolutionary lineages (I-IV). Isolates of different lineages displayed distinct genetic, phenotypic and ecologic characteristics, which appear to affect their ability to be transmitted through foods and to cause human disease, as well as their ability to thrive in markedly phage-rich environments. CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindrome repeats), a recently described adaptive immunity system, not only confers defense against invading elements derived from bacteriophages or plasmids in many bacteria and archaeal, but also displays strains-level variations in almost any given endowed species. This work was aimed to investigate CRISPR diversity in L monocytogenes strains of different lineages and estimated the potential practicability of the CRISPR-based approach to resolve this species' biodiversity. Only a third of strains contained all three CRISPR loci (here defined as LMa, LMb and LMc) at same time. Combined the strain-level variations in presence/absence of each CRISPR locus and its relative size and spacer arrangements, a total of 29 CRISPR genotypes and 11 groups were defined within a collection of 128 strains covering all serotypes. The CRISPR-based approach showed powerful ability to subtype the more commonly food-borne isolates of serotype 1/2a (lineage II) and serotypes 1/2b (lineage I), but limited by the absence of typical CRISPR structure in many lineage I isolates. Strikingly, we found a long associated cas1 gene as well as two self-targeting LMb spacers accidently homologous with endogenous genes in a fraction of serotype 1/2a isolations, demonstrated that CRISPR I B system might involve in bacterial physiology besides antiviral immunity. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.