Folia Microbiologica

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 291–298 | Cite as

Detection of virulence-related genes in Lactococcus garvieae and their expression in response to different conditions

  • Giovanni Eraclio
  • Giovanni Ricci
  • Mattia Quattrini
  • Paolo Moroni
  • Maria Grazia Fortina
Original Article


Lactococcus garvieae has emerged as an important zoonotic pathogen. However, information regarding mechanisms and factors related to its pathogenicity is lacking. In the present study, we investigated the distribution and functionality of genes related to virulence factors in L. garvieae strains isolated from different niches (diseased fish, humans, meat and dairy products, vegetables), using both post-genomic and genotypic analysis. Putative genes encoding hemolysin, fibronectin-binding protein, and penicillin acylase were detected in all analyzed genomes/strains. Their expression was significantly induced by bile salt stress. Putative genes encoding bile salt hydrolase were found in a few strains from dairy and human sources, as well as the mobilizable tet genes. Finally, all genomes possessed a folate gene cluster, in which mutations in the dihydropteroate synthase gene (folP) could be related to sulfonamide resistance. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study aimed to explore the pathogenic potential of L. garvieae through the analysis of numerous L. garvieae genomes/strains, coming from different sources. This approach allowed the detection of virulence-related genes not yet investigated in the species and the study of their expression after exposure to different environmental stresses. The results obtained suggest a virulence potential in some L. garvieae strains that can be exploited for survival in the human gastrointestinal tract.


Lactococcus garvieae Emerging zoonotic pathogen Virulence genes Gene expression studies 



We thank Dr. Milda Stuknite for providing language help and writing assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12223_2017_566_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (323 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 322 kb)


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Copyright information

© Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Eraclio
    • 1
  • Giovanni Ricci
    • 1
  • Mattia Quattrini
    • 1
  • Paolo Moroni
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maria Grazia Fortina
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze per gli Alimenti, la Nutrizione e l’AmbienteUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Medicina VeterinariaUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  3. 3.Cornell University, Animal Health Diagnostic CenterQuality Milk Production ServicesIthacaUSA

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