The Bactericidal Activity of a Novel Aneurinibacillus aneurinilyticus Isolate Effectively Controls Foodborne Pathogens Campylobacter jejuni and Listeria monocytogenes

by Rubinelli, P. M.; Liyanage, R.; Lay, J.; Acuff, J. C.

Human zoonotic infection with Campylobacter is a major cause of gastroenteritis in the United States and worldwide. Listeria monocytogenes causes a potentially fatal infection in humans and is often attributed to contaminated food. Genetic typing has demonstrated that Campylobacter infection is often associated with the consumption of contaminated poultry products, with Campylobacter often colonizing the poultry gastrointestinal tract, while listeriosis is commonly associated with the consumption of contaminated ready-to-eat (RTE) foods. In this study, a strain of endospore-forming bacterium (strain NH) that is bactericidal towards the human food pathogens Campylobacter jejuni and Listeria monocytogenes was identified and characterized. Transwell experiments demonstrated that the bactericidal effect on both C. jejuni and L. monocytogenes is due to secretions from the spore former. These foodborne pathogens consistently exhibited 7 log reductions in growth when exposed to the NH cell-free culture filtrate. Sequencing of the 16s rRNA gene V4 variable region and analysis of the full-length 16s rRNA gene sequence from the WGS indicated that strain NH belongs to the species Aneurinibacillus aneurinilyticus. A microplate bioassay demonstrated that a bactericidal substance that is sensitive to protease could be collected from cell-free filtrates by salting out with ammonium sulfate. Gel filtration chromatography indicated a native molecular weight for the bactericidal protein of ca. 50 kDa, consistent with a class III bacteriocin. The active protein bound strongly to a cation-exchange resin and with an isoelectric point of ten, suggesting a positively charged protein. Both cation-exchange chromatography and isoelectric focusing indicated the enrichment of an 11 kDa protein on SDS-PAGE. This protein was identified through mass spectroscopy as the flgM protein, an anti-sigma factor. Analysis of whole genome sequencing (WGS) of the strain NH genome indicated the presence of a number of non-conservative amino acid substitutions in the flgM-gene-derived amino acid sequence of strain NH and A. aneurinilyticus compared to other members of the Aneurinibacillus genus. Further investigation is needed to determine whether these substitutions are correlated with the bactericidal activity. The identified strain may be useful as a feed additive for the pre-harvest control of Campylobacter jejuni in poultry.

Applied Sciences-Basel
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