is one of the most common bacterial foodborne pathogens in the United States, causing illnesses that range from self-limiting gastroenteritis to more severe, life threatening invasive disease. Many Salmonella
strains contain plasmids that carry virulence, antimicrobial resistance, and/or transfer genes which allow them to adapt to diverse environments, and these can include incompatibility group (Inc) FIB plasmids. This study was undertaken to evaluate the genomic and phenotypic characteristics of IncFIB-positive Salmonella enterica
serovar Typhimurium isolates from food animal sources, to identify their plasmid content, assess antimicrobial resistance and virulence properties, and compare their genotypic isolates with more recently isolated S.
Typhimurium isolates from food animal sources. Methods: We identified 71 S.
Typhimurium isolates that carried IncFIB plasmids. These isolates were subjected to whole genome sequencing and evaluated for bacteriocin production, antimicrobial susceptibility, the ability to transfer resistance plasmids, and a subset was evaluated for their ability to invade and persist in intestinal human epithelial cells. Results: Approximately 30% of isolates (n
= 21) displayed bacteriocin inhibition of Escherichia coli
strain J53. Bioinformatic analyses using PlasmidFinder software confirmed that all isolates contained IncFIB plasmids along with multiple other plasmid replicon types. Comparative analyses showed that all strains carried multiple antimicrobial resistance genes and virulence factors including iron acquisition genes, such as iucABCD
(76%) and sitAB
(100%). In 17 cases (71%), IncFIB plasmids, along with other plasmid replicon types, were able to conjugally transfer antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes to the susceptible recipient strain. For ten strains, persistence cell counts (27%) were noted to be significantly higher than invasion bacterial cell counts. When the genome sequences of the study isolates collected from 1998–2003 were compared to those published from subsequent years (2005–2018), overlapping genotypes were found, indicating the perseverance of IncFIB positive strains in food animal populations. This study confirms that IncFIB plasmids can play a potential role in disseminating antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes amongst bacteria from several food animal species.
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