Richard A. Harris, Annika Flint, Madeleine Blondin Brosseau, Kelly Weedmark, John W. Austin

Complete genomes of Clostridium botulinum type B(F) isolates associated with a 1995 foodborne botulism outbreak from commercial pâté reveals a recombination event disrupting the ntnh gene

  • General Medicine

Foodborne botulism is a neuroparalytic disease caused by ingestion of foods contaminated with botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), produced by Clostridium botulinum . In 1995 a husband and wife from Québec, Canada, were hospitalized for several months with prolonged muscle paralysis after ingesting a commercial pâté de campagne. Examination of faecal samples from both patients and the pâté produced viable Group I (proteolytic) C. botulinum type B from each of the three samples. Whole genome sequencing revealed that all three isolates contain identical bont/B5 and bont/F2 genes encoded on a plasmid. Both faecal isolate genomes were identical in chromosome and plasmid length, as well as gene content. The genome of the pâté isolate was nearly identical to that of the faecal isolates with the notable difference of a missing 13-gene insertion on the bont/B5 cluster disrupting the ntnh gene. Examination of the insertion revealed several mobile genetic elements that participate in recombination.

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