Two other strains originally typed as PT13 were subsequently typed as PT6a. Two strains with original phage types 6 and 8 were subsequently phage typed PT4 and RDNC, respectively. Surprisingly, one strain had converted from a less common phage type PT6 to the most predominant phage type PT4 in Europe and vice
versa, and strains of more prevalent phage types 4, 8 and 13 had converted to less prevalent phage types 1a, RDNC and 6a (Table 1). It should be noted that strains ID 502 and ID 1387 were initially phage typed as PT13 JAK inhibitor and subsequently phage typed as PT6a, thus appearing to become a different clonal lineage. These observations underline the major limitations encountered while using phage typing for epidemiological investigation and severely restrict its value for monitoring the epidemic spread of S. Enteritidis. Our findings confirm previous studies reporting the occurrence of phage conversions. Frost et al.
(1989) reported the conversion of strains of PT4 to strains of PT24 in S. Enteritidis based on the acquisition of IncN plasmids. Inter-relationships were shown between strains of several phage types based on the lost or acquisition of an IncN plasmid (Threlfall et al., 1993). Conversion of PT4 to PT7 and PT1, 4, 6 to PT7 by loss of lipopolysaccharide has been described (Chart et al., 1989). Temperate phages 1, 2, 3, and 6 were used to convert PT4 to PT8, PT6a to PT4, LBH589 purchase PT6a to PT7, PT13 to PT13a and PT15 Etofibrate to PT11 (Rankin & Platt, 1995). Transfer of a plasmid belonging to the IncX into 10 isolates of S. Enteritidis belonging to 10 different phage types (PT1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 9b, 10, 11 and 13) resulted in phage type conversion in 8 of the 10 strains (PT1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 9b, 10 and 11) (Brown et al., 1999). PFGE that is currently the gold standard technique for subtyping S. Enteritidis isolates is laborious, requires precise standardization and displays limited subtyping potential (Hudson et al., 2001; Liebana
et al., 2001). Ribotyping is a laborious procedure that includes multiple steps such as DNA isolation, restriction, electrophoresis, Southern blotting, probe preparation and hybridization (Landeras & Mendoza, 1998). Thong et al. (1995) analysed a total of 61 isolates of S. Enteritidis using PFGE and ribotyping and came to the conclusion that the close genetic similarity observed between epidemiologically unrelated and outbreak-related isolates of S. Enteritidis suggests that both PFGE and ribotyping are of limited value in the epidemiological analysis of these particular isolates. PCR-based methods such as RAPD lack the ability to separate artefactual variation and true polymorphism (Tyler et al., 1997; Landers et al., 1998). The application of RAPD requires the identification of primers capable of recognizing DNA polymorphisms among isolates; however, it is not possible to predict which primers will be useful to differentiate strains of a species or serotype (Landeras & Mendoza, 1998).