Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19052179
J. Clin. Microbiol. 2009 Feb;47(2):300-10
Pantoea agglomerans and other Pantoea species cause infections in humans and are also pathogenic to plants, but the diversity of Pantoea strains and their possible association with hosts and disease remain poorly known, and identification of Pantoea species is difficult. We characterized 36 Pantoea strains, including 28 strains of diverse origins initially identified as P. agglomerans, by multilocus gene sequencing based on six protein-coding genes, by biochemical tests, and by antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Phylogenetic analysis and comparison with other species of Enterobacteriaceae revealed that the genus Pantoea is highly diverse. Most strains initially identified as P. agglomerans by use of API 20E strips belonged to a compact sequence cluster together with the type strain, but other strains belonged to diverse phylogenetic branches corresponding to other species of Pantoea or Enterobacteriaceae and to probable novel species. Biochemical characteristics such as fosfomycin resistance and utilization of d-tartrate could differentiate P. agglomerans from other Pantoea species. All 20 strains of P. agglomerans could be distinguished by multilocus sequence typing, revealing the very high discrimination power of this method for strain typing and population structure in this species, which is subdivided into two phylogenetic groups. PCR detection of the repA gene, associated with pathogenicity in plants, was positive in all clinical strains of P. agglomerans, suggesting that clinical and plant-associated strains do not form distinct populations. We provide a multilocus gene sequencing method that is a powerful tool for Pantoea species delineation and identification and for strain tracking.