Pathotyping the Zoonotic Pathogen Streptococcus suis: Novel Genetic Markers To Differentiate Invasive Disease-Associated Isolates from Non-Disease-Associated Isolates from England and Wales.

Change log
Wileman, Thomas M 
Weinert, Lucy A 
Wang, Jinhong 
Peters, Sarah E 

Streptococcus suis is one of the most important zoonotic bacterial pathogens of pigs, causing significant economic losses to the global swine industry. S. suis is also a very successful colonizer of mucosal surfaces, and commensal strains can be found in almost all pig populations worldwide, making detection of the S. suis species in asymptomatic carrier herds of little practical value in predicting the likelihood of future clinical relevance. The value of future molecular tools for surveillance and preventative health management lies in the detection of strains that genetically have increased potential to cause disease in presently healthy animals. Here we describe the use of genome-wide association studies to identify genetic markers associated with the observed clinical phenotypes (i) invasive disease and (ii) asymptomatic carriage on the palatine tonsils of pigs on UK farms. Subsequently, we designed a multiplex PCR to target three genetic markers that differentiated 115 S. suis isolates into disease-associated and non-disease-associated groups, that performed with a sensitivity of 0.91, a specificity of 0.79, a negative predictive value of 0.91, and a positive predictive value of 0.79 in comparison to observed clinical phenotypes. We describe evaluation of our pathotyping tool, using an out-of-sample collection of 50 previously uncharacterized S. suis isolates, in comparison to existing methods used to characterize and subtype S. suis isolates. In doing so, we show our pathotyping approach to be a competitive method to characterize S. suis isolates recovered from pigs on UK farms and one that can easily be updated to incorporate global strain collections.

Streptococcus suis, molecular diagnostics, pathotyping, surveillance, virulence markers, Animals, Carrier State, England, Genetic Markers, Genome, Bacterial, Molecular Diagnostic Techniques, Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction, Palatine Tonsil, Streptococcal Infections, Streptococcus suis, Swine, Swine Diseases, Virulence, Wales
Journal Title
J Clin Microbiol
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
American Society for Microbiology
BBSRC (1407315)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/G019274/1)
Royal Society (DH140195)
Wellcome Trust (109385/Z/15/Z)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/L502479/1)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/J020664/1)
This work was supported by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Knowledge Transfer Network CASE studentship co-funded by Zoetis (previously Pfizer Animal Health UK) and with significant contribution from BQP Ltd (Award Reference: BB/L502479/1). Funding bodies provided scholarship support but had no part in study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation of data or in writing the manuscript. AWT is supported by a BBSRC Longer and Larger (LoLa) grant (Award Reference: BB/G019274/1). LAW is supported by a Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship funded by the Royal Society (Grant Number: DH140195) and a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship co-funded by the Royal Society and Wellcome Trust (Grant Number: 109385/Z/15/Z).