Determination of microbial diversity of Aeromonas strains on the basis of multilocus sequence typing, phenotype, and presence of putative virulence genes

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Jul;77(14):4986-5000. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00708-11. Epub 2011 Jun 3.


The genus Aeromonas has been described as comprising several species associated with the aquatic environment, which represents their principal reservoir. Aeromonas spp. are commonly isolated from diseased and healthy fish, but the involvement of such bacteria in human infection and gastroenteritis has frequently been reported. The primary challenge in establishing an unequivocal link between the Aeromonas genus and pathogenesis in humans is the extremely complicated taxonomy. With the aim of clarifying taxonomic relationships among the strains and phenotypes, a multilocus sequencing approach was developed and applied to characterize 23 type and reference strains of Aeromonas spp. and a collection of 77 field strains isolated from fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. All strains were also screened for putative determinants of virulence by PCR (ast, ahh1, act, asa1, eno, ascV, and aexT) and the production of acylated homoserine lactones (AHLs). In addition, the phenotypic fingerprinting obtained from 29 biochemical tests was submitted to the nonparametric combination (NPC) test methodology to define the statistical differences among the identified genetic clusters. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) achieved precise strain genotyping, and the phylogenetic analysis of concatenated sequences delineated the relationship among the taxa belonging to the genus Aeromonas, providing a powerful tool for outbreak traceability, host range diffusion, and ecological studies. The NPC test showed the feasibility of phenotypic differentiation among the majority of the MLST clusters by using a selection of tests or the entire biochemical fingerprinting. A Web-based MLST sequence database ( specific for the Aeromonas genus was developed and implemented with all the results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyl-Butyrolactones / metabolism
  • Aeromonas / classification
  • Aeromonas / genetics
  • Aeromonas / isolation & purification*
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Base Sequence
  • Biodiversity
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Genotype
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing
  • Nucleotide Mapping
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Virulence Factors / genetics*


  • Acyl-Butyrolactones
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Virulence Factors