Virulence-associated gene profiling of Streptococcus suis isolates by PCR

Vet Microbiol. 2006 Jun 15;115(1-3):117-27. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2005.12.013. Epub 2006 Jan 20.


Definition of virulent Streptococcus suis strains is controversial. One successful approach for identification of virulent European strains is differentiation of capsular serotypes (or the corresponding cps types) and subsequent detection of virulence-associated factors, namely the extracellular factor (EF, epf), the muramidase-released protein (MRP, mrp) and the hemolysin suilysin (SLY, sly). In this work we present a novel multiplex PCR (MP-PCR) and an mrp variant PCR for identification and characterization of virulent S. suis strains. These new methods were used to identify association of disease with particular profiles of virulence-associated genes. The MP-PCR allowed identification of S. suis through detection of the housekeeping gene gdh, differentiation of four cps types (1, 2, 7 and 9), and detection of epf, mrp, sly and arcA (arginine deiminase from S. suis). Furthermore, this study describes the first PCR assay for differentiation of at least six mrp variants. Expression of the corresponding size variants of MRP was shown for four of the six mrp variants, but was undetectable for the two larger mrp variants in the particular strains investigated. The results of this study suggest that cps7 strains are associated with pneumonia and that variation of mrp is very pronounced among these strains. Gene profiles of invasive, pneumonia and carrier S. suis isolates by combination of PCR assays allowed differentiation of 24 different genotypes among cps1, 2, 7 and 9 strains. Forty-five percent of the invasive S. suis diseases investigated in this study were caused by only two of these genotypes, namely cps2/mrp+/epf+/sly+ and cps9/mrp(*)/epf-/sly+. Thus, this study demonstrates for the first time a uniform profile of the particular virulence-associated genes for the vast majority of the investigated invasive cps9 strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Bacterial Capsules
  • Bacterial Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel / veterinary
  • Gene Expression Profiling / veterinary
  • Genotype
  • Immunoblotting / veterinary
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / veterinary*
  • Streptococcus suis / classification*
  • Streptococcus suis / genetics
  • Streptococcus suis / isolation & purification
  • Streptococcus suis / pathogenicity*
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / microbiology*
  • Virulence
  • Virulence Factors / genetics*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Epf protein, Streptococcus suis
  • MRP protein, Streptococcus suis
  • Virulence Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/DQ295197
  • GENBANK/DQ295198