Presence of activatable Shiga toxin genotype (stx(2d)) in Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli from livestock sources.
ABSTRACT: Stx2d is a recently described Shiga toxin whose cytotoxicity is activated 10- to 1000-fold by the elastase present in mouse or human intestinal mucus. We examined Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) strains isolated from food and livestock sources for the presence of activatable stx(2d). The stx(2) operons of STEC were first analyzed by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis and categorized as stx(2), stx(2c vha), stx(2c vhb), or stx(2d EH250). Subsequently, the stx(2c vha) and stx(2c vhb) operons were screened for the absence of a PstI site in the stx(2A) subunit gene, a restriction site polymorphism which is a predictive indicator for the stx(2d) (activatable) genotype. Twelve STEC isolates carrying putative stx(2d) operons were identified, and nucleotide sequencing was used to confirm the identification of these operons as stx(2d). The complete nucleotide sequences of seven representative stx(2d) operons were determined. Shiga toxin expression in stx(2d) isolates was confirmed by immunoblotting. stx(2d) isolates were induced for the production of bacteriophages carrying stx. Two isolates were able to produce bacteriophages phi1662a and phi1720a carrying the stx(2d) operons. RFLP analysis of bacteriophage genomic DNA revealed that phi1662a and phi1720a were highly related to each other; however, the DNA sequences of these two stx(2d) operons were distinct. The STEC strains carrying these operons were isolated from retail ground beef. Surveillance for STEC strains expressing activatable Stx2d Shiga toxin among clinical cases may indicate the significance of this toxin subtype to human health.
Project description:There is considerable heterogeneity among the Shiga toxin type 2 (Stx2) toxins elaborated by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). One such Stx2 variant, the Stx2d mucus-activatable toxin (Stx2dact), is rendered more toxic by the action of elastase present in intestinal mucus, which cleaves the last two amino acids of the A2 portion of the toxin A subunit. We screened 153 STEC isolates from food, animals, and humans for the gene encoding Stx2dact by using a novel one-step PCR procedure. This method targeted the region of stx(2dact) that encodes the elastase recognition site. The presence of stx(2dact) was confirmed by DNA sequencing of the complete toxin genes. Seven STEC isolates from cows (four isolates), meat (two isolates), and a human (one isolate) that carried the putative stx(2dact) gene were identified; all were eae negative, and none was the O157:H7 serotype. Three of the isolates (CVM9322, CVM9557, and CVM9584) also carried stx(1), two (P1332 and P1334) carried stx(1) and stx(2c), and one (CL-15) carried stx(2c). One isolate, P1130, harbored only stx(2dact). The Vero cell cytotoxicities of supernatants from P1130 and stx(1) deletion mutants of CVM9322, CVM9557, and CVM9584 were increased 13- to 30-fold after treatment with porcine elastase. Thus, Stx2dact-producing strains, as detected by our one-step PCR method, can be isolated not only from humans, as previously documented, but also from food and animals. The latter finding has important public health implications based on a recent report from Europe of a link between disease severity and infection with STEC isolates that produce Stx2dact.
Project description:Similar to ruminants, swine have been shown to be a reservoir for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), and pork products have been linked with outbreaks associated with STEC O157 and O111:H-. STEC strains, isolated in a previous study from fecal samples of late-finisher pigs, belonged to a total of 56 serotypes, including O15:H27, O91:H14, and other serogroups previously associated with human illness. The isolates were tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a high-throughput real-time PCR system to determine the Shiga toxin (Stx) subtype and virulence-associated and putative virulence-associated genes they carried. Select STEC strains were further analyzed using a Minimal Signature E. coli Array Strip. As expected, stx 2e (81%) was the most common Stx variant, followed by stx 1a (14%), stx 2d (3%), and stx 1c (1%). The STEC serogroups that carried stx 2d were O15:H27, O159:H16 and O159:H-. Similar to stx 2a and stx 2c, the stx 2d variant is associated with development of hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome, and reports on the presence of this variant in STEC strains isolated from swine are lacking. Moreover, the genes encoding heat stable toxin (estIa) and enteroaggregative E. coli heat stable enterotoxin-1 (astA) were commonly found in 50 and 44% of isolates, respectively. The hemolysin genes, hlyA and ehxA, were both detected in 7% of the swine STEC strains. Although the eae gene was not found, other genes involved in host cell adhesion, including lpfAO113 and paa were detected in more than 50% of swine STEC strains, and a number of strains also carried iha, lpfAO26, lpfAO157, fedA, orfA, and orfB. The present work provides new insights on the distribution of virulence factors among swine STEC strains and shows that swine may carry Stx1a-, Stx2e-, or Stx2d-producing E. coli with virulence gene profiles associated with human infections.
Project description:Shiga toxin (Stx) types 1 and 2 are encoded within intact or defective temperate bacteriophages in Stx-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), and expression of these toxins is linked to bacteriophage induction. Among Stx2 variants, only stx(2e) from one human STEC isolate has been reported to be carried within a toxin-converting phage. In this study, we examined the O91:H21 STEC isolate B2F1, which carries two functional alleles for the potent activatable Stx2 variant toxin, Stx2d, for the presence of Stx2d-converting bacteriophages. We first constructed mutants of B2F1 that produced one or the other Stx2d toxin and found that the mutant that produced only Stx2d1 made less toxin than the Stx2d2-producing mutant. Consistent with that result, the Stx2d1-producing mutant was attenuated in a streptomycin-treated mouse model of STEC infection. When the mutants were treated with mitomycin C to promote bacteriophage induction, Vero cell cytotoxicity was elevated only in extracts of the Stx2d1-producing mutant. Additionally, when mice were treated with ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic that induces the O157:H7 Stx2-converting phage, the animals were more susceptible to the Stx2d1-producing mutant. Moreover, an stx(2d1)-containing lysogen was isolated from plaques on strain DH5alpha that had been exposed to lysates of the mutant that produced Stx2d1 only, and supernatants from that lysogen transformed with a plasmid encoding RecA were cytotoxic when the lysogen was induced with mitomycin C. Finally, electron-microscopic examination of extracts from the Stx2d1-producing mutant showed hexagonal particles that resemble the prototypic Stx2-converting phage 933W. Together these observations provide strong evidence that expression of Stx2d1 is bacteriophage associated. We conclude that despite the sequence similarity of the stx(2d1)- and stx(2d2)-flanking regions in B2F1, Stx2d1 expression is repressed within the context of its toxin-converting phage while Stx2d2 expression is independent of phage induction.
Project description:To determine the presence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and other potentially diarrheagenic E. coli strains in retail meats, 7,258 E. coli isolates collected by the U.S. National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) retail meat program from 2002 to 2007 were screened for Shiga toxin genes. In addition, 1,275 of the E. coli isolates recovered in 2006 were examined for virulence genes specific for other diarrheagenic E. coli strains. Seventeen isolates (16 from ground beef and 1 from a pork chop) were positive for stx genes, including 5 positive for both stx(1) and stx(2), 2 positive for stx(1), and 10 positive for stx(2). The 17 STEC strains belonged to 10 serotypes: O83:H8, O8:H16, O15:H16, O15:H17, O88:H38, ONT:H51, ONT:H2, ONT:H10, ONT:H7, and ONT:H46. None of the STEC isolates contained eae, whereas seven carried enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) hlyA. All except one STEC isolate exhibited toxic effects on Vero cells. DNA sequence analysis showed that the stx(2) genes from five STEC isolates encoded mucus-activatable Stx2d. Subtyping of the 17 STEC isolates by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) yielded 14 distinct restriction patterns. Among the 1,275 isolates from 2006, 11 atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) isolates were identified in addition to 3 STEC isolates. This study demonstrated that retail meats, mainly ground beef, were contaminated with diverse STEC strains. The presence of atypical EPEC strains in retail meat is also of concern due to their potential to cause human infections.
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:At least 11 Stx2 variants produced by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) isolated from patients and animals have been described. The Stx2 subtyping of STEC isolated from healthy cows positive for stx(2) (n = 104) or stx(2) and stx(1) (n = 63) was investigated. Stx2vh-b, Stx2 (renamed Stx2-EDL933), and Stx2vh-a were the subtypes mostly detected among the bovine isolates (39.5, 39, and 25.5%, respectively). Stx2e was not present, and subtypes included in the Stx2d group (Stx2d-OX3a, Stx2d-O111, and Stx2d-Ount) were found infrequently among the isolates examined (8.5%). A combination of two distinct Stx2 subtypes was observed among 23.5% of the strains. For the first time, a combination of three subtypes (Stx2-EDL933/Stx2vh-b/Stx2d and Stx2vh-a/Stx2vh-b/Stx2d) was detected (3.5% of the isolates). In addition, bovine STEC harboring stx(1) and one or two stx(2) genes appeared highly cytotoxic toward Vero cells. A new Stx2 subtype (Stx2-NV206), present among 14.5% of the isolates, showed high cytotoxicity for Vero cells. Two amino acid residues (Ser-291 and Glu-297) important for the activation of Stx2 by human intestinal mucus were conserved on the Stx2-NV206 A subunit. The gene encoding Ehx enterohemolysin was prominent among STEC harboring stx(2)-EDL933 alone (78%) or a combination of stx(2)-EDL933 and stx(2)vh-b (85%). In addition, Stx2-EDL933 and/or Stx2vh-b subtypes were highly associated with other putative virulence factors such as Stx1 and EspP extracellular serine protease, but not with EAST1 enterotoxin.
Project description:We examined 219 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains from meat, milk, and cheese samples collected in Germany between 2005 and 2006. All strains were investigated for their serotypes and for genetic variants of Shiga toxins 1 and 2 (Stx1 and Stx2). stx(1) or variant genes were detected in 88 (40.2%) strains and stx(2) and variants in 177 (80.8%) strains. Typing of stx genes was performed by stx-specific PCRs and by analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) of PCR products. Major genotypes of the Stx1 (stx(1), stx(1c), and stx(1d)) and the Stx2 (stx(2), stx(2d), stx(2-O118), stx(2e), and stx(2g)) families were detected, and multiple types of stx genes coexisted frequently in STEC strains. Only 1.8% of the STEC strains from food belonged to the classical enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) types O26:H11, O103:H2, and O157:H7, and only 5.0% of the STEC strains from food were positive for the eae gene, which is a virulence trait of classical EHEC. In contrast, 95 (43.4%) of the food-borne STEC strains carried stx(2) and/or mucus-activatable stx(2d) genes, an indicator for potential high virulence of STEC for humans. Most of these strains belonged to serotypes associated with severe illness in humans, such as O22:H8, O91:H21, O113:H21, O174:H2, and O174:H21. stx(2) and stx(2d) STEC strains were found frequently in milk and beef products. Other stx types were associated more frequently with pork (stx(2e)), lamb, and wildlife meat (stx(1c)). The combination of serotyping and stx genotyping was found useful for identification and for assignment of food-borne STEC to groups with potential lower and higher levels of virulence for humans.
Project description:Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) has been reported as the main Shiga toxin associated with human disease. In addition, the Stx2 toxin type can have a profound impact on the degree of tissue damage in animal models. We have characterized the stx(2) subtype of 168 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) isolates of which 146 were derived from ovine sources (principally feces and meat) and 22 were isolated from humans. The ovine STEC isolates were of serotypes that have been shown to occur commonly in the gastrointestinal tract of healthy sheep. The major stx(2) subtype in the ovine isolates was shown to be stx(2d-Ount) (119 of 146 [81.5%]) and was predominantly associated with serotypes O75:H(-)/H8/H40, O91:H(-), O123:H(-), O128:H2, and OR:H2. However, 17 of 18 (94.4%) ovine isolates of serotype O5:H(-) possessed a stx(2d-O111/OX3a) subtype. Furthermore, STEC isolates of serotypes commonly found in sheep and recovered from both clinical and nonclinical human infections also contained a stx(2d) (stx(2d-Ount/O111/OX3a)) subtype. These studies suggest that a specific stx(2) subtype(s) associates with serotype and may have important epidemiological implications for tracing sources of E. coli during outbreaks of STEC-associated diseases in humans.
Project description:Shiga toxin (Stx) is an AB5 ribotoxin made by Stx-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). These organisms cause diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis and the hemolytic uremic syndrome. STEC make two types of Stxs, Stx1 and/or Stx2. Stx2 has one prototype (a) and six subtypes (b-g), but only STEC that make Stx2a, and/or Stx2c, or Stx2d are associated with severe disease. However, Stx2c is about 10-fold less toxic than Stx2d in vivo despite only two amino acid differences in the A subunit at positions 291 and 297. We made mutations at these two sites to create intermediate toxins between Stx2c and Stx2d, and determined the 50% cytotoxic dose on Vero cells before and after heat treatment, and the 50% lethal dose in mice of the toxins. We found that serine 291 was associated with increased toxicity in vivo and that either amino acid change from that in Stx2c to that in Stx2d increased heat stability. We also assessed the secondary structure of Stx2c and Stx2d by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. The CD studies suggest that Stx2c has a less-ordered secondary structure than Stx2d. We conclude that both amino acids at positions 291 and 297 in Stx2c contribute to its decreased stability and in vivo toxicity compared to Stx2d.
Project description:In this study, 75 Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains originating from foods (n = 73) and drinking water (n = 2) were analyzed for their stx genotype, as well as for further chromosome-, phage-, and plasmid-encoded virulence factors. A broad spectrum of stx genes was detected. Fifty-three strains (70.7%) contained stx(2) or stx(2) variants, including stx(2d), mucus-activatable stx(2d), stx(2e), and stx(2g). Seven strains (9.3%) harbored stx(1) or stx(1c), and 15 strains (20.0%) carried both stx(2) and/or stx(2) variants and stx(1) or stx(1c). Beside stx, the most abundant accessory virulence markers in STEC food isolates were iha (57.3%), ehxA (40.0%), espP (28.0%), and subAB (25.3%). Only four strains were eae positive; three of these belonged to the serogroups O26, O103, and O157 and contained a typical enterohemorrhagic E. coli virulence spectrum. The results of this study show that a number of STEC strains that occur in foods appear to be pathogenic for humans, based on their virulence profiles. Analysis of stx subtypes and detection of additional virulence factors in eae-negative strains may help to better assess the risk of such strains for causing human infection.