Brazil is the third larger producer and the larger exporter of poultry meat in the world. The production is estimated on over 12 millions of ton. From this amount, almost 4 millions of tons are exported, yielding an income of about US$ 6 billions. Lineages of avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) are agents of significant degrees of morbidity and mortality for meat poultry and layer hens, causing losses to the poultry industry. Furthermore, APEC lineages have recently been described as potential zoonotic agents. For several years, our group have worked on APEC lineages for characterizing them with respect to their biological characteristics related to patogenicity (resistance to antimicrobials, expression of fimbriae and flagella, colicinis, enterobactins, resistance to bactericidal serum effects, adhesion and invasion of cell lineages ability), genetics (existence of pathogenicity related genes in plasmids and chromosomes) and population analysis (clonal structure). In this project, we wish to study, in a comparative way, APEC lineages isolated in different Brazilian regions [South (Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul); South-East (São Paulo) and North-East (Pernambuco)] with E. coli lineages isolated from human urinary tract infections, termed uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC), ir order to assess their clonal structure and whether or not APEC may act as a zoonotic agent. For this goal, it will be performed molecular techniques such as characterization by PCR of 43 genes, determination of pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of each isolate in regard to their clonal characterization. Additionally, the isolates will be serogruped. All these data, when put together, will allow us to determine which type of APEC lineages are the most prevalent in our country and which are their genetic constitutions in regard to the presence of virulence genes. It could open the way for the establishement of representative strains for the development of vaccinal lineages. Furthermore, the comparison with UPEC lineages will show whether Brazilian APEC lineages present zoonotic potential similarly to what has been reported in lineages isolated in some other countries.
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