Identification of virulent Capnocytophaga canimorsus isolates by capsular typing

Estelle Hess, Francesco Renzi, Dunia Koudad, Mélanie Dol, Guy Cornelis

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Capnocytophaga canimorsus is a dog oral commensal that causes rare but severe infections in humans. C. canimorsus was recently shown to be endowed with a capsular polysaccharide implicated in resistance to the innate immune system of the host. Here, we developed the first C. canimorsus capsular serotyping scheme. We describe nine different serovars (A to I), and this serotyping scheme allowed typing of 25/25 isolates from human infections but only 18/52 isolates from dog mouths, indicating that the repertoire of capsules in the species is vast. However, while only three serovars (A, B, and C) covered 88% of the human isolates tested (22/25), they covered only 7.7% of the dog isolates (4/52). Serovars A, B, and C were found 22.9-, 14.6-, and 4.2-fold more often, respectively, among human isolates than among dog isolates, with no geographical bias, implying that isolates endowed with these three capsular types are more virulent for humans than other isolates. Capsular serotyping would thus allow identification of virulent isolates in dogs, which could contribute to the prevention of these infections. To this end, we developed a PCR typing method based on the amplification of specific capsular genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1902-1914
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Capsular polysaccharide
  • PCR
  • Septicemia
  • Serotyping scheme
  • Western blot
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections/microbiology
  • Humans
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial/analysis
  • Capnocytophaga/classification
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques/methods
  • Animals
  • Virulence Factors/analysis
  • Dogs
  • Serotyping/methods


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