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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Genome characteristics related to the virulence of Streptococcus suis in Swedish pigs

Werinder, Anna; Aspan, Anna; Jacobson, Magdalena; Backhans, Annette; Sjolund, Marie; Guss, Bengt; Soderlund, Robert


The impact of S. suis on Swedish pig production has increased in recent years, and characterization of the strains present in the pig population is needed to aid in surveillance and prevention. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify and characterize differences in the genomes between Swedish S. suis isolates associated with disease and isolates from healthy animals. Isolates categorized as being pathogenic (n = 100) or non-pathogenic (n = 117) were whole-genome sequenced, serotyped in silico, and sequence-typed using traditional MLST and coregenome MLST, and a genome-wide association study was performed to identify virulence-associated genes. In decreasing order, serotypes 2, 1, and 7 were the most common in the pathogenic group, and serotypes 15 and 12 were the most common in the non-pathogenic group. Among the commonly disease-associated sequence types, ST28 and ST25 were identified, whereas ST1 was scarcely found. The majority of isolates belonged to novel sequence types, revealing differences between Swedish isolates and those reported from other countries. The genomes of the pathogenic isolates were on average smaller and less heterogenic as compared to those of the non-pathogenic isolates. Although a majority of the previously published virulence-associated genes included in the study were found in the genomes of both pathogenic and non-pathogenic isolates, several new, significantly virulence-associated genes were identified.


GWAS; Meningitis; MLST; Streptococcus suis; Virulence-associated genes; Whole-genome sequencing; Zoonosis

Published in

Veterinary Microbiology
2023, Volume: 284, article number: 109839
Publisher: ELSEVIER