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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Produce Safety and Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #359902

Research Project: Molecular Identification and Characterization of Bacterial and Viral Pathogens Associated with Foods

Location: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research

Title: Campylobacter vulpis sp. nov. isolated from wild red foxes

item PARISI, ANTONIO - Institute Of Experimental Zooprofilattic
item CHIARA, MATTEO - University Of Milan
item CAFFARA, MONICA - University Of Bologna, Italy
item MION, DOMENICO - University Of Bologna, Italy
item Miller, William - Bill
item CARUSO, MARTA - Institute Of Experimental Zooprofilattic
item MANZARI, CATERINA - National Research Council - Italy
item FLORIO, DANIELA - University Of Bologna, Italy
item BUONAVOGLIA, DOMENICO - University Of Bari
item D'ERCHIA, ANNA - National Research Council - Italy
item MANZULLI, VIVIANA - Institute Of Experimental Zooprofilattic
item ZANONI, RENATO - University Of Bologna, Italy

Submitted to: Systematic and Applied Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/28/2021
Publication Date: 4/22/2021
Citation: Parisi, A., Chiara, M., Caffara, M., Mion, D., Miller, W.G., Caruso, M., Manzari, C., Florio, D., Buonavoglia, D., D'Erchia, A.M., Manzulli, V., Zanoni, R.G. 2021. Campylobacter vulpis sp. nov. isolated from wild red foxes. Systematic and Applied Microbiology. 44.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter, primarily Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli, are commonly associated with human foodborne illness. However, other campylobacters, labeled ‘emerging Campylobacter’, have been isolated from food or have been recovered recently from human clinical samples. One such pathogen is Campylobacter upsaliensis, whose host range is cats and canids (including dogs and coyotes, for example) in general. C. upsaliensis has been reported in cases of human illness much more frequently over the past 5 years. Although C. upsaliensis has been identified in the food supply, it is unknown if the transmission of this species is through food consumption or human handling of domestic pet dogs and cats. During a survey of wild foxes, strains identified initially as C. upsaliensis, were obtained. However, further testing indicated that these strains were related to but different from C. upsaliensis, although they both share a canid (dogs vs. foxes) host range. This study characterizes the new species, named preliminarily as Campylobacter vulpis (meaning from foxes) and establishes it as a species distinct from all present characterized Campylobacter species. The pathogenicity of these organisms is unknown, but the close relationship with a known pathogen indicates that further research is warranted.

Technical Abstract: During sampling of wild foxes (Vulpes vulpes) for members of the class Epsilonproteobacteria, fourteen strains were isolated from the caecal contents of many epidemiologically-unrelated animals. All isolates were Gram- negative spiral-shaped cells with one bipolar unsheathed flagella, no periplasmic fibers, and appeared coccoid after 5-6 days of incubation. A genus-specific PCR showed that the isolates belonged to the genus Campylobacter. Based on the results of species-specific PCR, the isolates were initially identified as C. upsaliensis. Multi-locus sequence typing, however, revealed that these isolates were significantly different from C. upsaliensis present in the MLST database. For this reason, a polyphasic study including: conventional biochemical and tolerance characteristics; morphology by transmission electron microscopy (TEM); and comparisons based on partial 16S rDNA and atpA gene sequences was undertaken. Finally, a MALDI-TOF analysis was performed and the draft genome sequences of two strains, 251/13T and 73/13, were determined. Average nucleotide and amino acid identities and in silico DNA-DNA hybridization values confirmed that the isolates 251/13T and 73/13 represent a novel taxon for which the name Campylobacter vulpis sp. nov. is proposed, with isolate 251/13T (= CCUGT 70587T = LMGT 30110) as the type strain. In order to allow a rapid discrimination of C. vulpis from the closely related C. upsaliensis a specific PCR test was designed, based on atpA gene sequences.