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Preliminary genome studies of Campylobacter fetus subspecies venerealis

Lew-Tabor, A., Barrero, R., Indjein, L., Keeble, G., Power, J. and Bellgard, M. (2011) Preliminary genome studies of Campylobacter fetus subspecies venerealis. In: Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM) Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) 2011, 4 - 8 July 2011, Hobart, Tasmania.


Bovine genital campylobacteriosis (BGC) causes venereal disease of cattle characterised by infertility and sporadic abortion, caused by Campylobacter fetus subspecies venerealis biovars. Prevalence of the organism has been estimated at 30-50% with bulls known to be asymptomatic carriers which can lead to lower herd reproductive performance. Gold standard diagnosis relies upon culture isolation and differentiation from C. fetus subsp. fetus not usually associated with BGC. Molecular assays have been based on plasmid borne sequences suggesting that these assays may be under-estimating the prevalence of C. fetus subsp. venerealis. A research program to elucidate the genome sequence of 2 representative biovars of this subspecies would assist to identify suitable and conserved diagnostic targets. The genome sizes were identified at 1.945 and 1.943 for C. fetus subsp. venerealis biovar venerealis and intermedius respectively. Compared to the C. fetus subsp. fetus reference genome (1.773 Mb) we identified 118 and 128 kb of unique sequence for biovars venerealis and intermedius respectively with 96kb unique to venerealis and 83kb unique to intermedius. A scan of virulence factors ( demonstrated an overlap between C. fetus subsp. fetus with the 2 C. fetus subsp venerealis biovars of approximately 182 factors with 8 specific to venerealis and 3 specific to intermedius. Differences are associated with components of Type IV secretion systems, invasion proteins, adhesins and hypothetical proteins. Our research has also confirmed the presence of a C. fetus subsp. venerealis biovar venerealis specific pathogenicity island. This is the first genomic comparison of C. fetus subspecies and biovars.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Comparative Genomics
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