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Streptococcus castoreus, an uncommon group A Streptococcus in beavers

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Streptococcus castoreus is a rarely encountered beta-haemolytic group A Streptococcus with high tropism for the beaver as host. Based on 27 field isolates under study, evidence strongly suggests that S. castoreus behaves as an opportunistic pathogen in beavers. Although it belongs to the resident mucosal microbiota, this Streptococcus species is associated with purulent lesions in diseased animals. With few exceptions, isolates proved to be highly similar in a panel of phenotypic (including biochemistry, resistance pattern, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy) and classic molecular (16S rRNA and sodA gene) analyses, and thus did not show any specific pattern according to host species or spatio-temporal origin. Conversely, S. castoreus isolates were differentiated into a multitude of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis ‘pulsotypes’ that did not seem to reflect true epidemiologic lineages. In contrast, single reactions of genomic fingerprinting using BOX-, (GTG)5- and RAPD-PCRs revealed at least subclusters with respect to host species, geographic origin or year, and confirmed the co-colonization of individuals with more than one isolate. In addition to isolates from free-ranging Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber), this study includes S. castoreus from captive North American beavers (Castor canadensis) for the first time.

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Data availability statement

All data generated or analysed during the present study are included in this published article and its supplementary information file. Representative sequences from 16S rRNA (accession no. KP120916) and sodA gene analyses (accession nos. MK801783 and MK801784) are publicly available in GenBank.


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The authors like to thank Martin Dyk, Katharina Engel, Nadine Jahn and Vanessa Nowak for excellent technical assistance, and Dr. Ute Kaim, Anne Nesseler, Dr. Karin Riße, Dr. Svenja Scheffold, Dr. Christoph Schulze, Dr. Iris Völker and Dr. Gudrun Wibbelt for providing animal samples and pathology reports.

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Authors and Affiliations



KM and TE conceived the study. KM, PK, MH and TE provided the isolates. KM, JR, AF, CH, SPG, MvdL, PK, MH, ASE and TE performed diagnostics/experiments/analyses. JR, AF, CH, SPG, TKW and TE contributed materials/analysis tools. KM processed the data. KM and TE wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to the content, and read and approved the final draft of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kristin Mühldorfer.

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Ethical statement

Streptococcus castoreus isolates used in the present study were obtained from samples collected from beaver carcasses during routine disease investigations, which have been submitted to the participating institutions and laboratories for diagnostic purposes.

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Mühldorfer, K., Rau, J., Fawzy, A. et al. Streptococcus castoreus, an uncommon group A Streptococcus in beavers. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 112, 1663–1673 (2019).

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