Subtilase cytotoxin (SubAB) is an important virulence factor of eae-negative Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Three variants of SubAB-encoding genes have been reported in the literature; however, the newly described subAB variant (subAB2-2) was found only in STEC strains from deer meat, sheep, and some wild animals. In this study, subAB variants were detected by PCR and DNA sequencing in 5 out of 12 (41.6%) eae-negative STEC strains isolated from patients. Most subAB-positive STEC strains (80%) harbored the subAB1 gene. The subAB2-2 gene was detected for the first time in the clinical STEC O128:H2 strain. Other virulence genes including stx1a, stx1c, stx2b, ehxA, and tia were also detected in this strain. The DNA sequence analyses of the subAB1 and subAB2-2 genes of the clinical STEC strains showed 99% and 100% identity to those of the reference strains 98NK2 and LM27558stx2, respectively. This is the first report on the detection of the subAB2-2 gene in a clinical STEC isolate.
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