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Journal Articles Applied and Environmental Microbiology Year : 2021

Listeria spp. Isolated from Tonsils of Wild Deer and Boars: Genomic Characterization


Listeria monocytogenes is a major human and animal foodborne pathogen. However, data from environmental reservoirs remain scarce. Here, we used whole-genome sequencing to characterize Listeria species isolates recovered over 1 year from wild animals in their natural habitats in Spain. Three different Listeria spp. (L. monocytogenes [n = 19], Listeria ivanovii subsp. londoniensis [n = 4], and Listeria innocua [n = 3]) were detected in 23 animal tonsils (9 deer, 14 wild boars) and 2 feeding troughs. No Listeria species was detected in feces. L. monocytogenes was detected in tonsils of 44.4% (8 out of 18) of deer and 40.7% (11 out of 27) of wild boars. L. monocytogenes isolates belonged to 3 different core genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) types (CTs) of 3 distinct sublineages (SL1, SL387, and SL155) from lineages I and II. While cgMLST type L1-SL1-ST1-CT5279 (IVb; clonal complex 1 [CC1]) occurred only in one animal, types L1-SL387-ST388-CT5239 (IVb; CC388) and L2-SL155-ST155-CT1170 (IIa; CC155) were retrieved from multiple animals. In addition, L1-SL387-ST388-CT5239 (IVb; CC388) isolates were collected 1 year apart, revealing their long-term occurrence within the animal population and/or environmental reservoir. The presence of identical L. monocytogenes strains in deer and wild boars suggests contamination from a common food or environmental source, although interhost transmission cannot be excluded. Pathogenicity islands LIPI-1, LIPI-3, and LIPI-4 were present in 100%, 5%, and 79% of the L. monocytogenes isolates, respectively, and all L. monocytogenes lineage II isolates (n = 3) carried SSI-1 stress islands. This study highlights the need for monitoring L. monocytogenes environmental contamination and the importance of tonsils as a possible L. monocytogenes intrahost reservoir.

Dates and versions

pasteur-03355602 , version 1 (27-09-2021)



Carla Palacios-Gorba, Alexandra Moura, Alexandre Leclercq, Ángel Gómez-Martín, Jesús Gomis, et al.. Listeria spp. Isolated from Tonsils of Wild Deer and Boars: Genomic Characterization. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2021, 87 (6), pp.e02651-20. ⟨10.1128/AEM.02651-20⟩. ⟨pasteur-03355602⟩
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