Scientific reports

The invasive Neisseria meningitidis MenC CC103 from Brazil is characterized by an accessory gene repertoire.

PMID 28487566


Neisseria meningitidis infections are a major issue for global health. The invasive MenC ST-103 clonal complex (CC103) has been the most prevalent in meningococcal outbreaks in Brazil, occurring also in several countries worldwide. Here we have analysed the population structure and accessory genome of MenC CC103 strains from a global perspective. An in-depth phylogenomic analysis revealed a lineage of N. meningitidis causing meningitis in Brazil and the United Kingdom. This lineage was also characterized as harbouring a particular accessory genome composed of CRISPR/Cas and restriction modification systems. This lineage was also characterized by a genomic island resembling an integrative and conjugative element. This island carried genes potentially associated with virulence and fitness. We propose this accessory gene repertoire could be contributing to the spatial-temporal persistence of the invasive MenC CC103 lineage.