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The evolution and distribution of phage ST160 within Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium


Salmonellosis is an internationally important disease of mammals and birds. Unique epidemics in New Zealand in the recent past include two Salmonella serovars: Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium definitive type (DT) 160 (S. Typhimurium DT160) and S. Brandenburg. Although not a major threat internationally, in New Zealand S. Typhimurium DT160 has been the most common serovar isolated from humans, and continues to cause significant losses in wildlife. We have identified DNA differences between the first New Zealand isolate of S. Typhimurium DT160 and the genome-sequenced strain, S. Typhimurium LT2. All the differences could be accounted for in one cryptic phage ST64B, and one novel P22-like phage, ST160. The majority of the ST160 genome is almost identical to phage SE1 but has two regions not found in SE1 which are identical to the P22-like phage ST64T, suggesting that ST160 evolved from SE1 via two recombination events with ST64T. All of the New Zealand isolates of DT160 were identical indicating the clonal spread of this particular Salmonella. Some overseas isolates of S. Typhimurium DT160 differed from the New Zealand strain and contained SE1 phage rather than ST160. ST160 was also identified in New Zealand isolates of S. Typhimurium DT74 and S. Typhimurium RDNC-April06 and in S. Typhimurium DT160 isolates from the USA. The emergence of S. Typhimurium DT160 as a significant pathogen in New Zealand is postulated to have occurred due to the sensitivity of the Salmonella strains to the ST160 phage when S. Typhimurium DT160 first arrived.

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