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Pathogenic and phylogenetic characteristics of non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli isolates from retail meats in South Korea
June Bong Lee1, Dalmuri Han1, Hyung Tae Lee1, Seon Mi Wi1, Jeong Hoon Park1, Jeong Woo Jo1, Young-Jae Cho1, Tae-Wook Hahn1, Sunjin Lee2, Byunghak Kang2, Hyo Sun Kwak2, Jonghyun Kim2*, and Jang Won Yoon1,*
1College of Veterinary Medicine & Institute of Veterinary Science, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Gangwon 24341, Korea
2Division of Enteric Diseases, Centers for Infectious Diseases, National Research Institue of Health, Heungdeok-gu, Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do 28159, Korea
Correspondence to: Tel: +82-33-250-8791; Fax: +82-33-259-5625; E-mail: jwy706@kangwon.ac.kr (J.W.Yoon) & micro487@hanmail.net (J.Kim)
Received: June 1, 2017; Revised: September 25, 2017; Accepted: November 24, 2017; Published online: December 28, 2017.
Herein, we report the pathogenic and phylogenetic characteristics of seven Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) isolates from 434 retail meats in Korea during 2006-2012. The experimental analyses revealed that all the isolates (i) were identified as non-O157 STEC, including O91:H14 (3 isolates), O121:H10 (2), O91:H21 (1), and O18:H20 (1), (ii) carried diverse Stx subtype genes (stx1, stx2c, stx2e, or stx1+stx2b) whose expression levels were varied strain by strain, and (iii) lacked the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island, a major virulence factor of STEC, but possessed one or more alternative virulence genes encoding cytotoxins (Cdt and SubAB) and/or adhesins (Saa, Iha, and EcpA). Notably, a significant heterogeneity in the glutamate-induced acid resistance (AR) was observed among these STEC isolates (P〈0.05). Further phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that all three STEC O91:H14 isolates were categorized into the sequence type (ST) 33, of which two beef isolates were identical in their pulsotypes. The similar results were found with two O121:H10 pork isolates (ST641; 88.2% similarity). Interestingly, 96.0% of the 100 human STEC isolates in Korea during 2003-2014 were serotyped as O91:H14 and the ST33 linage was confirmed in approximately 72.2% (13/18 isolates) of human STEC O91:H14 isolates from diarrheal patients.
Keywords: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Non-O157 STEC, STEC O91:H14, Retail meats, South Korea

© 2017 The Korean Society of Veterinary Science.