Prevalence of putative virulence markers in Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli isolated from hospitalized children, raw chicken, and raw beef in Tehran, Iran.
The incidence of the virulence-associated genes cdtA, cdtB, cdtC, cadF, dnaJ, racR, and pldA has been investigated in Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli collected from raw chicken and beef from retailers in Tehran, Iran, and from hospitalized children (age, ≤14 years) suffering from diarrhea. Campylobacter spp. were collectively identified by morphological and biochemical methods. Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli were discriminated from other Campylobacter spp. by amplification of a specific conserved fragment of the 16S rRNA gene. The distinction between C. jejuni and C. coli was subsequently made by molecular determination of the presence of the hipO gene in C. jejuni or the ask gene in C. coli. Fragments of the studied virulence-associated genes, cdtA, cdtB, cdtC, cadF, racR, dnaJ, and pldA, were amplified by PCR and subjected to horizontal gel electrophoresis. A total of 71 isolates of C. jejuni and 24 isolates of C. coli from meat were analyzed, while the numbers of isolates from the hospitalized children were 28 and 9, respectively. The unequal distribution of C. jejuni and C. coli in the samples has also been reported in other studies. Statistical analyses by the use of the two-tailed Fisher's exact test of the occurrence of the virulence genes in the isolates of different origins showed that the occurrence of the dnaJ gene was consistently significantly higher in all C. jejuni isolates than in C. coli. The occurrence of the other virulence markers did not differ significantly between species in the majority of the isolates. The PCR results also showed that the occurrence of the virulence markers in the analyzed isolates was much lower than in other studies, which may be caused by a divergent genomic pool of our isolates in comparison with others.
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