Genetic diversity of Francisella tularensis in Poland with comments on MLVA genotyping and a proposition of a novel rapid v4-genotyping

Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2020 Mar;11(2):101322. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2019.101322. Epub 2019 Oct 31.


We investigated the genotypes of Francisella tularensis (F. tularensis) strains isolated in Poland during the period 1953-2013 and studied their genetic relationship to F. tularensis strains isolated in other countries using MLVA. We examined the mosquito and tick samples collected in Poland for the presence of F. tularensis DNA using PCR. Our results revealed a high genetic diversity among the strains of F. tularensis collected from Poland, suggesting that the bacterium is commonly found in the environment. However, we did not detect F. tularensis DNA in ticks and mosquitoes, showing that the arthropod bites might not be the main source of infection. We also propose the application of a practical assay called v4-genotyping that can be directly performed on the clinical and environmental samples. In addition, we discovered genetic variations among Schu S4 reference strains used in various laboratories and showed that MLVA analysis should not be based on amplicon sizes only because point mutations occurring within the MLVA loci might not always be manifested by a change in the amplicon size.

Keywords: Francisella tularensis; MLVA; Mosquitoes; Schu S4; Ticks; v4-genotyping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Francisella tularensis / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotyping Techniques / methods*
  • Minisatellite Repeats*
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing / instrumentation*
  • Poland