Identification and characterization of a novel genomic island integrated at selC in locus of enterocyte effacement-negative, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli.
ABSTRACT: The selC tRNA gene is a common site for the insertion of pathogenicity islands in a variety of bacterial enteric pathogens. We demonstrate here that Escherichia coli that produces Shiga toxin 2d and does not harbor the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) contains, instead, a novel genomic island. In one representative strain (E. coli O91:H(-) strain 4797/97), this island is 33,014 bp long and, like LEE in E. coli O157:H7, is integrated 15 bp downstream of selC. This E. coli O91:H(-) island contains genes encoding a novel serine protease, termed EspI; an adherence-associated locus, similar to iha of E. coli O157:H7; an E. coli vitamin B12 receptor (BtuB); an AraC-type regulatory module; and four homologues of E. coli phosphotransferase proteins. The remaining sequence consists largely of complete and incomplete insertion sequences, prophage sequences, and an intact phage integrase gene that is located directly downstream of the chromosomal selC. Recombinant EspI demonstrates serine protease activity using pepsin A and human apolipoprotein A-I as substrates. We also detected Iha-reactive protein in outer membranes of a recombinant clone and 10 LEE-negative, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) strains by immunoblot analysis. Using PCR analysis of various STEC, enteropathogenic E. coli, enterotoxigenic E. coli, enteroaggregative E. coli, uropathogenic E. coli, and enteroinvasive E. coli strains, we detected the iha homologue in 59 (62%) of 95 strains tested. In contrast, espI and btuB were present in only two (2%) and none of these strains, respectively. We conclude that the newly described island occurs exclusively in a subgroup of STEC strains that are eae negative and contain the variant stx(2d )gene.
Project description:Background:In the current study, nine foodborne "Locus of Enterocyte Effacement" (LEE)-negative Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains were selected for whole genome sequencing and analysis for yet unknown genetic elements within the already known LEE integration sites selC, pheU and pheV. Foreign DNA ranging in size from 3.4 to 57 kbp was detected and further analyzed. Five STEC strains contained an insertion of foreign DNA adjacent to the selC tRNA gene and five and seven strains contained foreign DNA adjacent to the pheU and pheV tRNA genes, respectively. We characterized the foreign DNA insertion associated with selC (STEC O91:H21 strain 17584/1), pheU (STEC O8:H4 strain RF1a and O55:Hnt strain K30) and pheV (STEC O91:H21 strain 17584/1 and O113:H21 strain TS18/08) as examples. Results:In total, 293 open reading frames partially encoding putative virulence factors such as TonB-dependent receptors, DNA helicases, a hemolysin activator protein precursor, antigen 43, anti-restriction protein KlcA, ShiA, and phosphoethanolamine transferases were detected. A virulence type IV toxin-antitoxin system was detected in three strains. Additionally, the ato system was found in one strain. In strain 17584/1 we were able to define a new genomic island which we designated GIselC 17584/1. The island contained integrases and mobile elements in addition to genes for increased fitness and those playing a putative role in pathogenicity. Conclusion:The data presented highlight the important role of the three tRNAs selC, pheU, and pheV for the genomic flexibility of E. coli.
Project description:More than 400 serotypes of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) have been implicated in outbreaks and sporadic human diseases. In recent years STEC strains belonging to serogroup O178 have been commonly isolated from cattle and food of bovine origin in South America and Europe. In order to explore the significance of these STEC strains as potential human pathogens, 74 German and Argentinean E. coli O178 strains from animals, food and humans were characterized phenotypically and investigated for their serotypes, stx-genotypes and 43 virulence-associated markers by a real-time PCR-microarray. The majority (n = 66) of the O178 strains belonged to serotype O178:H19. The remaining strains divided into O178:H7 (n = 6), O178:H10 (n = 1), and O178:H16 (n = 1). STEC O178:H19 strains were mainly isolated from cattle and food of bovine origin, but one strain was from a patient with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Genotyping of the STEC O178:H19 strains by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis revealed two major clusters of genetically highly related strains which differ in their stx-genotypes and non-Stx putative virulence traits, including adhesins, toxins, and serine-proteases. Cluster A-strains including the HUS-strain (n = 35) carried genes associated with severe disease in humans (stx2a, stx2d, ehxA, saa, subAB1, lpfAO113 , terE combined with stx1a, espP, iha). Cluster B-strains (n = 26) showed a limited repertoire of virulence genes (stx2c, pagC, lpfAO113 , espP, iha). Among O178:H7 strains isolated from deer meat and patients with uncomplicated disease a new STEC variant was detected that is associated with the genotype stx1c/stx2b/ehxA/subAB2/espI/[terE]/espP/iha. None of the STEC O178 strains was positive for locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE)- and nle-genes. Results indicate that STEC O178:H19 strains belong to the growing group of LEE-negative STEC that should be considered with respect to their potential to cause diseases in humans.
Project description:Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are important enteropathogens causing severe diseases such as hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic-uremic syndrome in humans. The majority of STEC strains of serogroups O157, O26, or O111 associated with severe cases of these diseases possess a pathogenicity island termed the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE). LEE, which is responsible for the formation of attaching-and-effacing lesions on intestinal epithelial cells, is important for the full virulence of STEC. Nonetheless, LEE-negative STEC strains have repeatedly been reported to be associated with severe diseases in humans. In this study, we characterized adhesion to cultured epithelial cells of certain LEE-negative STEC isolated from humans with or without bloody diarrhea. Several LEE-negative STEC belonging to serogroup O91 showed an unusual, chain-like adhesion pattern to HEp-2 cells. Using Tn5-based transposon mutagenesis, we identified the gene essential for the chain-like adhesion phenotype of this O91 STEC strain. Sequence analysis of the Tn5-inserted allele identified a novel chromosomal open reading frame (ORF) encoding a polypeptide with a high degree of similarity to the E. coli immunoglobulin-binding (Eib) proteins EibA, -C, -D, -E, and -F. Therefore, the ORF was designated EibG. Laboratory E. coli strain MC4100 transformed with a multicopy plasmid carrying eibG showed chain-like adhesion to HEp-2 cells, and whole-cell lysates of the strain bound to human-derived immunoglobulin G (IgG) Fc and IgA. These results indicate that EibG acts as an IgG Fc- and IgA-binding protein, as well as an adhesin of LEE-negative STEC.
Project description:LEE-negative Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains are important cause of infection in humans and they should be included in the public health surveillance systems. Some isolates have been associated with haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) but the mechanisms of pathogenicity are is a field continuos broadening of knowledge. The IrgA homologue adhesin (Iha), encoded by iha, is an adherence-conferring protein and also a siderophore receptor distributed among LEE-negative STEC strains. This study reports the presence of different subtypes of iha in LEE-negative STEC strains. We used genomic analyses to design PCR assays for detecting each of the different iha subtypes and also, all the subtypes simultaneously. LEE-negative STEC strains were designed and different localizations of this gene in STEC subgroups were examinated. Genomic analysis detected iha in a high percentage of LEE-negative STEC strains. These strains generally carried iha sequences similar to those harbored by the Locus of Adhesion and Autoaggregation (LAA) or by the plasmid pO113. Besides, almost half of the strains carried both subtypes. Similar results were observed by PCR, detecting iha LAA in 87% of the strains (117/135) and iha pO113 in 32% of strains (43/135). Thus, we designed PCR assays that allow rapid detection of iha subtypes harbored by LEE-negative strains. These results highlight the need to investigate the individual and orchestrated role of virulence genes that determine the STEC capacity of causing serious disease, which would allow for identification of target candidates to develop therapies against HUS.
Project description:Of 220 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains collected in central France from healthy cattle, food samples, and asymptomatic children, 12 possessed the eae gene included in the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island. Based on gene typing, we observed 7 different eae espA espB tir pathotypes among the 12 STEC strains and described the new espAbetav variant. As previously observed, the O157 serogroup is associated with eaegamma, O26 is associated with eaebeta, and O103 is associated with eaeepsilon. However, the unexpected eaezeta allele was detected in 5 of the 12 isolates. PCR amplification and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis using the I-CeuI endonuclease followed by Southern hybridization indicated that the LEE was inserted in the vicinity of the selC (three isolates), pheU (two isolates), or pheV (six isolates) tRNA gene. Six isolates harbored two or three of these tRNA loci altered by the insertion of integrase genes (CP4-int and/or int-phe), suggesting the insertion of additional foreign DNA fragments at these sites. In spite of great genetic diversity of LEE pathotypes and LEE insertion sites, bovine strains harbor alleles of LEE genes that are frequently found in clinical STEC strains isolated from outbreaks and sporadic cases around the world, underscoring the potential risk of the bovine strains on human health.
Project description:The capacity of Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) to adhere to the intestinal mucosa undoubtedly contributes to pathogenesis of human disease. The majority of STEC strains isolated from severe cases produce attaching and effacing lesions on the intestinal mucosa, a property mediated by the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island. This element is not essential for pathogenesis, as some cases of severe disease, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), are caused by LEE-negative STEC strains, but the mechanism whereby these adhere to the intestinal mucosa is not understood. We have isolated a gene from the megaplasmid of a LEE-negative O113:H21 STEC strain (98NK2) responsible for an outbreak of HUS, which encodes an auto-agglutinating adhesin designated Saa (STEC autoagglutinating adhesin). Introduction of saa cloned in pBC results in a 9.7-fold increase in adherence of E. coli JM109 to HEp-2 cells and a semilocalized adherence pattern. Mutagenesis of saa in 98NK2, or curing the wild-type strain of its megaplasmid, resulted in a significant reduction in adherence. Homologues of saa were found in several unrelated LEE-negative STEC serotypes, including O48:H21 (strain 94CR) and O91:H21 (strain B2F1), which were also isolated from patients with HUS. Saa exhibits a low degree of similarity (25% amino acid [aa] identity) with YadA of Yersinia enterocolitica and Eib, a recently described phage-encoded immunoglobulin binding protein from E. coli. Saa produced by 98NK2 is 516 aa long and includes four copies of a 37-aa direct repeat sequence. Interestingly, Saa produced by other STEC strains ranges in size from 460 to 534 aa as a consequence of variation in the number of repeats and/or other insertions or deletions immediately proximal to the repeat domain.
Project description:The distribution of eight putative adhesins that are not encoded in the locus for enterocyte effacement (LEE) in 139 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) of different serotypes was investigated by PCR. Five of the adhesins (Iha, Efa1, LPF(O157/OI-141), LPF(O157/OI-154), and LPF(O113)) are encoded in regions corresponding to genomic O islands of E. coli EDL933, while the other three adhesins have been reported to be encoded in the STEC megaplasmid of various serotypes (ToxB [O157:H7], Saa [O113:H21], and Sfp [O157:NM]). STEC strains were isolated from humans (n = 54), animals (n = 52), and food (n = 33). They were classified into five seropathotypes (A through E) based on the reported occurrence of STEC serotypes in human disease, in outbreaks, and in the hemolytic-uremic syndrome (M. A. Karmali, M. Mascarenhas, S. Shen, K. Ziebell, S. Johnson, R. Reid-Smith, J. Isaac-Renton, C. Clark, K. Rahn, and J. B. Kaper, J. Clin. Microbiol. 41:4930-4940, 2003). The most prevalent adhesin was that encoded by the iha gene (91%; 127 of 139 strains), which was distributed in all seropathotypes. toxB and efa1 were present mainly in strains of seropathotypes A and B, which were LEE positive. saa was present only in strains of seropathotypes C, D, and E, which were LEE negative. Two fimbrial genes, lpfA(O157/OI-141) and lpfA(O157/OI-154), were strongly associated with seropathotype A. The fimbrial gene lpfA(O113) was present in all seropathotypes except for seropathotype A, while sfpA was not present in any of the strains studied. The distribution of STEC adhesins depends mainly on serotypes and not on the source of isolation. Seropathotype A, which is associated with severe disease and frequently is involved in outbreaks, possesses a unique adhesin profile which is not present in the other seropathotypes. The wide distribution of iha in STEC strains suggested that it could be a candidate for vaccine development.
Project description:Locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE)-negative Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains are human pathogens that lack the LEE locus, a pathogenicity island (PAI) involved in the intimate adhesion of LEE-positive strains to the host gut epithelium. The mechanism used by LEE-negative STEC strains to colonize the host intestinal mucosa is still not clear. The cell invasion determinant tia, previously described in enterotoxigenic E. coli strains, has been identified in LEE-negative STEC strains that possess the subtilase-encoding pathogenicity island (SE-PAI). We evaluated the role of the gene tia, present in these LEE-negative STEC strains, in the invasion of monolayers of cultured cells. We observed that these strains were able to invade Caco-2 and HEp-2 cell monolayers and compared their invasion ability with that of a mutant strain in which the gene tia had been inactivated. Mutation of the gene tia resulted in a strong reduction of the invasive phenotype, and complementation of the tia mutation with a functional copy of the gene restored the invasion activity. Moreover, we show that the gene tia is overexpressed in bacteria actively invading cell monolayers, demonstrating that tia is involved in the ability to invade cultured monolayers of epithelial cells shown by SE-PAI-positive E. coli, including STEC, strains. However, the expression of the tia gene in the E. coli K-12 strain JM109 was not sufficient, in its own right, to confer to this strain the ability to invade cell monolayers, suggesting that at least another factor must be involved in the invasion ability displayed by the SE-PAI-positive strains.
Project description:Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains of serogroup O91 are the most common human pathogenic eae-negative STEC strains. To facilitate diagnosis and subtyping of these pathogens, we genotypically and phenotypically characterized 100 clinical STEC O91 isolates. Motile strains expressed flagellar antigens H8 (1 strain), H10 (2 strains), H14 (52 strains), and H21 (20 strains) or were H nontypeable (Hnt) (10 strains); 15 strains were nonmotile. All nonmotile and Hnt strains possessed the fliC gene encoding the flagellin subunit of the H14 antigen (fliC(H14)). Most STEC O91 strains possessed enterohemorrhagic E. coli hlyA and expressed an enterohemolytic phenotype. Among seven stx alleles identified, stx(2dact), encoding mucus- and elastase-activatable Stx2d, was present solely in STEC O91:H21, whereas most strains of the other serotypes possessed stx(1). Moreover, only STEC O91:H21 possessed the cdt-V cluster, encoding cytolethal distending toxin V; the toxin was regularly expressed and was lethal to human microvascular endothelial cells. Infection with STEC O91:H21 was associated with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (P = 0.0015), whereas strains of the other serotypes originated mostly in patients with nonbloody diarrhea. We conclude that STEC O91 clinical isolates belong to at least four lineages that differ by H antigens/fliC types, stx genotypes, and non-stx putative virulence factors, with accumulation of virulence determinants in the O91:H21 lineage. Isolation of STEC O91 from patients' stools on enterohemolysin agar and the rapid initial subtyping of these isolates using fliC genotyping facilitate the identification of these emerging pathogens in clinical and epidemiological studies and enable prediction of the risk of a severe clinical outcome.
Project description:Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are a group of foodborne pathogens associated with diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhagic colitis (HC) and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Shiga toxins are the major virulence factor of these pathogens, however adhesion and colonization to the human intestine is required for STEC pathogenesis. A subset of STEC strains carry the Locus of Enterocyte Effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island (PAI), which encodes genes that mediate the colonization of the human intestine. While LEE-positive STEC strains have traditionally been associated with human disease, the burden of disease caused by STEC strains that lacks LEE (LEE-negative) has increased recently in several countries; however, in the absence of LEE, the molecular pathogenic mechanisms by STEC strains are unknown. Here we report a 86-kb mosaic PAI composed of four modules that encode 80 genes, including novel and known virulence factors associated with adherence and autoaggregation. Therefore, we named this PAI as Locus of Adhesion and Autoaggregation (LAA). Phylogenomic analysis using whole-genome sequences of STEC strains available in the NCBI database indicates that LAA PAI is exclusively present in a subset of emerging LEE-negative STEC strains, including strains isolated from HC and HUS cases. We suggest that the acquisition of this PAI is a recent evolutionary event, which may contribute to the emergence of these STEC.