In 1992 a helical microorganism associated with chronic active hepatitis and a high incidence of hepatocellular tumors was identified in the hepatic parenchyma of A/JCr mice. By using biochemical tests, phenotypic characterization, and 168 rRNA gene sequence analysis, the organism was classified as a novel Helicobacter species and named Helicobacter hepaticus. Recent surveys completed in our laboratory indicate that H. hepaticus is widespread in academic and commercial mouse colonies. The aim of this study was to examine the H. hepaticus genome by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to determine the degree of genomic variation and genomic size. This technique has been used to identify significant genomic diversity among strains of Helicobacter pylori and to demonstrate only slight genomic diversity among strains of Helicobacter mustelae. Genomic DNAs from 11 isolates of H. hepaticus from the United States, Germany, France, and The Netherlands were subjected to PFGE after digestion with SmaI. Isolates from three independent sources within the United States had very similar PFGE patterns, suggesting that the genomic DNAs of these isolates are conserved. Genomic DNA isolated from a fourth source within the United States had a PFGE pattern different from those of the other U.S. isolates. Isolates obtained from Germany, France, and The Netherlands had PFGE patterns that differed markedly from those of the U.S. isolates and from one another. The use of DNA fingerprinting may be useful in subsequent epidemiological studies of H. hepaticus when the source and method of spread of this murine pathogen need to be ascertained. By PFGE, the genomic size of H. hepaticus is estimated to be roughly 1.3 Mb, which compares to 1.67 Mb for H. pylori and 1.7 Mb for H. mustelae.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)