Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of provisional serotype Shigellaflexneri 1c and clonal relationships with 1a and 1b strains isolated in Bangladesh

Author(s): Talukder KA, Islam Z, Islam MA, Dutta DK, Safa A, et al.


The serotypes of 144 strains of Shigella flexneri serotype 1 (serotypes 1a, 1b, and 1c) isolated from patients attending the Dhaka treatment center of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, between 1997 and 2001 were serologically confirmed by using commercially available antisera and a panel of monoclonal antibodies specific for S. flexneri group and type factor antigen (MASF). Among serotype 1 isolates, the prevalence of provisional serotype S. flexneri 1c increased from 0 to 56% from 1978 to 2001 in Bangladesh. Detailed biochemical studies revealed that none of the strains of serotype 1 produced indole, while all the strains fermented mannose, mannitol, and trehalose. Twenty percent of the serotype 1c and all the serotype 1a strains fermented maltose and 53% of the serotype 1c strains and 60% of the serotype 1a strains fermented arabinose, whereas all serotype 1b strains were negative for fermentation of these sugars. Only 18% of serotype 1b strains were resistant to nalidixic acid, and most of the serotype 1c and 1b strains were resistant to ampicillin, tetracycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. All the strains of serotypes 1a and 1b and about 88% of the serotype 1c strains were found to be invasive by the Sereny test, had a 140-MDa plasmid, and had Congo red absorption ability. Plasmid profile analysis showed that 26% of the strains of serotype 1 contained identical patterns. Most of the serotype 1c strains (72%) had the 1.6-MDa plasmid, which was not found in either serotype 1a or 1b strains. A self-transmissible middle-range plasmid (35 to 80 MDa) was found in some strains carrying the multiple-antibiotic-resistance gene. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis yielded three types (types A, B, and C) with numerous subtypes among the serotype 1c strains, whereas serotypes 1b and 1a yielded only one type for each serotype, and those types were related to the types for serotype 1c strains. Ribotyping analysis yielded three patterns for serotype 1c strains and one pattern each for serotype 1a and 1b strains which were similar to the patterns for the serotype 1c strains. Overall analysis of the results concluded that subserotype 1c is closely related to serotypes 1a and 1b. Furthermore, the high rate of prevalence of serotype 1c necessitates the commercial production of antibody against this subserotype to allow the determination of the actual burden of shigellosis caused by provisional serotype 1c.

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