Multilocus sequence typing of pathogenic treponemes isolated from cloven-hoofed animals and comparison to treponemes isolated from humans

Clegg, SR, Carter, SD, Birtles, RJ ORCID:, Brown, JM, Hart, CA and Evans, NJ 2016, 'Multilocus sequence typing of pathogenic treponemes isolated from cloven-hoofed animals and comparison to treponemes isolated from humans' , Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 82 , pp. 4523-4536.

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Treponema species are implicated in many diseases of humans and animals. Digital dermatitis (DD) treponemes are reported to cause severe lesions in cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and wild elk, causing substantial global animal welfare issues and economic losses. The fastidiousness of these spirochetes has previously precluded studies investigating within-phylogroup genetic diversity. An archive of treponemes that we isolated enabled multilocus sequence typing to quantify the diversity and population structure of DD treponemes. Isolates (n = 121) were obtained from different animal hosts in nine countries on three continents. The analyses herein of currently isolated DD treponemes at seven housekeeping gene loci confirm the classification of the three previously designated phylogroups: the Treponema medium, Treponema phagedenis, and Treponema pedis phylogroups. Sequence analysis of seven DD treponeme housekeeping genes revealed a generally low level of diversity among the strains within each phylogroup, removing the need for the previously used "-like" suffix. Surprisingly, all isolates within each phylogroup clustered together, regardless of host or geographic origin, suggesting that the same sequence types (STs) can infect different animals. Some STs were derived from multiple animals from the same farm, highlighting probable within-farm transmissions. Several STs infected multiple hosts from similar geographic regions, identifying probable frequent between-host transmissions. Interestingly, T. pedis appears to be evolving more quickly than the T. medium or T. phagedenis DD treponeme phylogroup, by forming two unique ST complexes. The lack of phylogenetic discrimination between treponemes isolated from different hosts or geographic regions substantially contrasts with the data for other clinically relevant spirochetes.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
ISSN: 0099-2240
Related URLs:
Funders: Biotechnology and Biosciences Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Depositing User: RJ Birtles
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2016 16:18
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 21:23

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