Background: Cronobacter sakazakii is an emerging opportunistic pathogen that is associated with rare but life-threatening cases of severe diseases: meningitis, necrotizing enterocolitis, and sepsis in premature and full-term infants. However, the pathogenesis mechanism of this pathogen remains largely unknown. To determine its pathogenesis at the genomic level, the genome of C. sakazakii ATCC 29544T was completely sequenced and analyzed.
Results: The genomic DNA, containing a circular chromosome and three plasmids, is composed of 4,511,265 bp with a GC content of 56.71%, containing 4380 predicted open reading frames (ORFs), 22 rRNA genes, and 83 tRNA genes. The plasmids, designated pCSK29544_p1, pCSK29544_p2, and pCSK29544_p3, were 93,905-bp, 4938-bp, and 53,457-bp with GC contents of 57.02, 54.88, and 50.07%, respectively. They were also predicted to have 72, 6, and 57 ORFs without RNA genes.
Conclusions: The strain ATCC 29544T genome has ompA and ibeB-homologous cusC genes, probably associated with the invasion of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs). In addition, gene clusters for siderophore production (iucABCD/iutA) and the related transport system (eitCBAD) were detected in pCSK29544_p1 plasmid, indicating better iron uptake ability for survival. Furthermore, to survive under extremely dry condition like milk powder, this genome has gene clusters for biosynthesis of capsular proteins (CSK29544_00281-00284) and cellulose (CSK29544_01124-01127) for biofilm formation and a gene cluster for utilization of sialic acid in the milk (nanKTAR). The genome information of C. sakazakii ATCC 29544T would provide further understanding of its pathogenesis at the molecular level for the regulation of pathogenicity and the development of a rapid detection method using biomarkers.
Keywords: Complete genome sequence; Cronobacter sakazakii; Infant milk formula; Pathogenesis; Virulence factor.