The rate of nosocomial infections with the opportunistic pathogen Stenotrophomonas maltophilia has remarkably increased in the last decade. To determine S. maltophilia virulence genes, the complete genome sequences of two S. maltophilia isolates were compared. The clinical strain SKK35 was proved virulent in an amoeba host-pathogen model, and wastewater strain RA8 was determined as non-virulent in the amoeba model. The genome sequences of three additional S. maltophilia strains, K279a (clinical, non-virulent against amoeba), R511-3 and SKA14 (both environmental, non-virulent against amoeba) were taken into account as reference strains.
We were able to show that all clinical and environmental S. maltophilia strains presented comparable distribution of so far identified potential virulence genes, regardless to their virulence potential against amoebae.
Aside from that, strain SKK35 was found harboring a putative, strain specific pathogenicity island, encoding two proteins from the RTX (repeats-in-toxin) family. The actual expression of the RTX genes was verified in growth experiments in different culture media containing blood or blood components and in co-cultures with amoeba.