Conservation of genomic localization and sequence content of Sau3AI-like restriction-modification gene cassettes among listeria monocytogenes epidemic clone I and selected strains of serotype 1/2a

Yildirim S., Elhanafi D., Lin W., Hitchins A. D., Siletzky R. M., Kathariou S.

Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol.76, no.16, pp.5577-5584, 2010 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 76 Issue: 16
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1128/aem.00648-10
  • Journal Name: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.5577-5584
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: No


Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen with a clonal population structure and apparently limited gene flow between strains of different lineages. Strains of epidemic clone I (ECI) have been responsible for numerous outbreaks and invariably have DNA that is resistant to digestion by Sau3AI, suggesting methylation of cytosine at GATC sites. A putative restriction-modification (RM) gene cassette has been identified in the genome of the ECI strain F2365 and all other tested ECI strains but is absent from other strains of the same serotype (4b). Homologous RM cassettes have not been reported among L. monocytogenes isolates of other serotypes. Furthermore, conclusive evidence for the involvement of this RM cassette in the Sau3AI resistance phenotype of ECI strains has been lacking. In this study, we describe a highly conserved RM cassette in certain strains of serotypes 1/2a and 4a that have Sau3AI-resistant DNA. In these strains the RM cassette was in the same genomic location as in the ECI reference strain F2365. The cassette included a gene encoding a putative recombinase, suggesting insertion via site-specific recombination. Deletion of the RM cassette in the ECI strain F2365 and the serotype 1/2a strain A7 rendered the DNA of both strains susceptible to Sau3AI digestion, providing conclusive evidence that the cassette includes a gene required for methylation of cytosine at GATC sites in both strains. The findings suggest that, in addition to its presence in ECI strains, this RM cassette and the accompanying genomic DNA methylation is also encountered among selected strains of other lineages. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.