Shiga toxin, cytolethal distending toxin, and hemolysin repertoires in clinical Escherichia coli O91 isolates.
ABSTRACT: 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:Fecal swabs obtained from 1,300 healthy lambs in 93 flocks in Spain in 1997 were examined for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). STEC O157:H7 strains were isolated from 5 (0.4%) animals in 4 flocks, and non-O157 STEC strains were isolated from 462 (36%) lambs in 63 flocks. A total of 384 ovine STEC strains were characterized in this study. PCR showed that 213 (55%) strains carried the stx(1) gene, 10 (3%) possessed the stx(2) gene, and 161 (42%) carried both the stx(1) and the stx(2) genes. Enterohemolysin (ehxA) and intimin (eae) virulence genes were detected in 106 (28%) and 23 (6%) of the STEC strains, respectively. The STEC strains belonged to 35 O serogroups and 64 O:H serotypes (including 18 new serotypes). However, 72% were of 1 of the following 12 serotypes: O5:H-, O6:H10, O91:H-, O117:H-, O128:H-, O128:H2, O136:H20, O146:H8, O146:H21, O156:H-, O166:H28, and ONT:H21 (where NT is nontypeable). Although the 384 STEC strains belonged to 95 different seropathotypes (associations between serotypes and virulence genes), 49% of strains belonged to only 11. O91:H- stx(1) stx(2) (54 strains) was the most common seropathotype, followed by O128:H- stx(1) stx(2) (33 strains) and O6:H10 stx(1) (25 strains). Three strains of serotypes O26:H11, O156:H11, and OX177:H11 had intimin type beta1; 5 strains of serotype O157:H7 possessed intimin type gamma1; and 15 strains of serotypes O49:H-, O52:H12, O156:H- (12 strains), and O156:H25 had the new intimin, intimin type zeta. The majority (82%) of ovine STEC strains belonged to serotypes previously found to be associated with human STEC strains, and 51% belonged to serotypes associated with STEC strains isolated from patients with hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Thus, this study confirms that healthy sheep are a major reservoir of STEC strains pathogenic for humans.
Project description:Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains of the O91:H21 serotype have caused severe infections, including hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Strains of the O91 serogroup have been isolated from food, animals, and the environment worldwide but are not well characterized. We used a microarray and other molecular assays to examine 49 serogroup O91 strains (environmental, food, and clinical strains) for their virulence potential and phylogenetic relationships. Most of the isolates were identified to be strains of the O91:H21 and O91:H14 serotypes, with a few O91:H10 strains and one O91:H9 strain being identified. None of the strains had the eae gene, which codes for the intimin adherence protein, and many did not have some of the genetic markers that are common in other STEC strains. The genetic profiles of the strains within each serotype were similar but differed greatly between strains of different serotypes. The genetic profiles of the O91:H21 strains that we tested were identical or nearly identical to those of the clinical O91:H21 strains that have caused severe diseases. Multilocus sequence typing and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat analyses showed that the O91:H21 strains clustered within the STEC 1 clonal group but the other O91 serotype strains were phylogenetically diverse.IMPORTANCE This study showed that food and environmental O91:H21 strains have similar genotypic profiles and Shiga toxin subtypes and are phylogenetically related to the O91:H21 strains that have caused hemolytic-uremic syndrome, suggesting that these strains may also have the potential to cause severe illness.
Project description:We have investigated 677 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains from humans to determine their serotypes, virulence genes, and clinical signs in patients. Six different Shiga toxin types (1, 1c, 2, 2c, 2d, and 2e) were distributed in the STEC strains. Intimin (eae) genes were present in 62.6% of the strains and subtyped into intimins alpha1, beta1, gamma1, epsilon, theta, and eta. Shiga toxin types 1c and 2d were present only in eae-negative STEC strains, and type 2 was significantly (P < 0.001) more frequent in eae-positive STEC strains. Enterohemorrhagic E. coli hemolysin was associated with 96.2% of the eae-positive strains and with 65.2% of the eae-negative strains. Clinical signs in the patients were abdominal pain (8.7%), nonbloody diarrhea (59.2%), bloody diarrhea (14.3%), and hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) (3.5%), and 14.3% of the patients had no signs of gastrointestinal disease or HUS. Infections with eae-positive STEC were significantly (P < 0.001) more frequent in children under 6 years of age than in other age groups, whereas eae-negative STEC infections dominated in adults. The STEC strains were grouped into 74 O:H types by serotyping and by PCR typing of the flagellar (fliC) genes in 221 nonmotile STEC strains. Eleven serotypes (O157:[H7], O26:[H11], O103:H2, O91:[H14], O111:[H8], O145:[H28], O128:H2, O113:[H4], O146:H21, O118:H16, and O76:[H19]) accounted for 69% of all STEC strains. We identified 41 STEC strains belonging to 31 serotypes which had not previously been described as human STEC. Twenty-six of these were positive for intimins alpha1 (one serotype), beta1 (eight serotypes), epsilon (two serotypes), and eta (three serotypes). Our study indicates that different types of STEC strains predominate in infant and adult patients and that new types of STEC strains are present among human isolates.
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:A total of 514 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) isolates from diarrheic and healthy cattle in Spain were characterized in this study. PCR showed that 101 (20%) isolates carried stx(1) genes, 278 (54%) possessed stx(2) genes, and 135 (26%) possessed both stx(1) and stx(2). Enterohemolysin (ehxA) and intimin (eae) virulence genes were detected in 326 (63%) and in 151 (29%) of the isolates, respectively. STEC isolates belonged to 66 O serogroups and 113 O:H serotypes (including 23 new serotypes). However, 67% were of one of these 15 serogroups (O2, O4, O8, O20, O22, O26, O77, O91, O105, O113, O116, O157, O171, O174, and OX177) and 52% of the isolates belonged to only 10 serotypes (O4:H4, O20:H19, O22:H8, O26:H11, O77:H41, O105:H18, O113:H21, O157:H7, O171:H2, and ONT:H19). Although the 514 STEC isolates belonged to 164 different seropathotypes (associations between serotypes and virulence genes), only 12 accounted for 43% of isolates. Seropathotype O157:H7 stx(2) eae-gamma1 ehxA (46 isolates) was the most common, followed by O157:H7 stx(1) stx(2) eae-gamma1 ehxA (34 isolates), O113:H21 stx(2) (25 isolates), O22:H8 stx(1) stx(2) ehxA (15 isolates), O26:H11 stx(1) eae-beta1 ehxA (14 isolates), and O77:H41 stx(2) ehxA (14 isolates). Forty-one (22 of serotype O26:H11) isolates had intimin beta1, 82 O157:H7 isolates possessed intimin gamma1, three O111:H- isolates had intimin type gamma2, one O49:H- strain showed intimin type delta, 13 (six of serotype O103:H2) isolates had intimin type epsilon and eight (four of serotype O156:H-) isolates had intimin zeta. We have identified a new variant of the eae intimin gene designated xi (xi) in two isolates of serotype O80:H-. The majority (85%) of bovine STEC isolates belonged to serotypes previously found for human STEC organisms and 54% to serotypes associated with STEC organisms isolated from patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome. Thus, this study confirms that cattle are a major reservoir of STEC strains pathogenic for humans.
Project description:A specific PCR for the detection of a variant of the gene encoding Shiga toxin 1 (stx(1)) called stx(1(OX3)) (GenBank accession no. Z36901) was developed. The PCR was used to investigate 148 Stx(1)-producing Escherichia coli strains from human patients (n = 72), cattle (n = 27), sheep (n = 48), and a goat (n = 1) for the presence of the stx(1(OX3)) gene. The stx(1(OX3)) gene was present in 38 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) strains from sheep belonging to serogroups O5, O125, O128, O146, and OX3 but was absent from Stx(1)-positive ovine STEC O91 strains. The stx(1(OX3)) gene was also detected in 22 STEC strains from humans with nonbloody diarrhea and from asymptomatic excreters. Serotypes O146:H21 and O128:H2 were most frequently associated with stx(1(OX3))-carrying STEC from sheep and humans. In contrast, Stx(1)-producing STEC strains from cattle and goats and 50 STEC strains from humans were all negative for the stx(1(OX3)) gene. The stx(1(OX3))-negative strains belonged to 13 serotypes which were different from those of the stx(1(OX3))-positive STEC strains. Moreover, the stx(1(OX3)) gene was not associated with STEC belonging to enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) serogroups O26, O103, O111, O118, O145, and O157. A bacteriophage carrying the stx(1(OX3)) gene (phage 6220) was isolated from a human STEC O146:H21 strain. The phage was able to lysogenize laboratory E. coli K-12 strain C600. Phage 6220 shared a similar morphology and a high degree of DNA homology with Stx(2)-encoding phage 933W, which originates from EHEC O157. In contrast, few similarities were found between phage 6220 and Stx(1)-encoding bacteriophage H-19B from EHEC O26.
Project description:A total of 140 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains from wildlife meat (deer, wild boar, and hare) isolated in Germany between 1998 and 2006 were characterized with respect to their serotypes and virulence markers associated with human pathogenicity. The strains grouped into 38 serotypes, but eight O groups (21, 146, 128, 113, 22, 88, 6, and 91) and four H types (21, 28, 2, and 8) accounted for 71.4% and 75.7% of all STEC strains from game, respectively. Eighteen of the serotypes, including enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) O26:[H11] and O103:H2, were previously found to be associated with human illness. Genes linked to high-level virulence for humans (stx(2), stx(2d), and eae) were present in 46 (32.8%) STEC strains from game. Fifty-four STEC isolates from game belonged to serotypes which are frequently found in human patients (O103:H2, O26:H11, O113:H21, O91:H21, O128:H2, O146:H21, and O146:H28). These 54 STEC isolates were compared with 101 STEC isolates belonging to the same serotypes isolated from farm animals, from their food products, and from human patients. Within a given serotype, most STEC strains were similar with respect to their stx genotypes and other virulence attributes, regardless of origin. The 155 STEC strains were analyzed for genetic similarity by XbaI pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. O103:H2, O26:H11, O113:H21, O128:H2, and O146:H28 STEC isolates from game were 85 to 100% similar to STEC isolates of the same strains from human patients. By multilocus sequence typing, game EHEC O103:H2 strains were attributed to a clonal lineage associated with hemorrhagic diseases in humans. The results from our study indicate that game animals represent a reservoir for and a potential source of human pathogenic STEC and EHEC strains.
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:Fifty-five Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O26:H11 and O26:H(-) strains isolated from humans between 1965 and 1999 in Germany and the Czech Republic were investigated for their chromosomal and plasmid characteristics. All motile (n = 23) and nonmotile (n = 32) STEC O26 strains were shown to possess the identical flagellin subunit-encoding gene (fliC). We observed a striking recent shift of the stx genotype from stx(1) to stx(2) among the STEC O26 isolates. While stx(1) was the exclusive genotype identified in our collection until 1994, 94% of the isolates obtained after 1997 possessed stx(2) either alone (71%) or together with stx(1) (23%). Plasmid profiling demonstrated a remarkable heterogeneity with respect to plasmid sizes and combinations. Southern blot analysis of plasmid DNA with probes specific to potential accessory virulence genes revealed considerable additional variability in gene composition and arrangement. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) differentiated 16 subgroups among the 55 STEC O26 strains. Using these techniques we demonstrate the emergence of a new clonal subgroup characterized by PFGE pattern A and a unique combination of virulence markers including stx(2) and a single, approximately 90-kb plasmid harboring the enterhemorrhagic E. coli hlyA and etp genes. The proportion of PFGE subgroup A strains among STEC O26 isolates rose from 30% in 1996 to more than 50% in 1999. Four clusters of infections with the clonal subgroup A were identified. We conclude that the STEC serogroup O26 is diverse and that pathogenic clonal subgroups can rapidly emerge during short intervals. The extensive genetic diversity of STEC O26 provides a basis for molecular subtyping of this important non-O157 STEC serogroup.
Project description:We identified cytolethal distending toxin and its gene (cdt) in 17 of 340 non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains (serotypes O73:H18, O91:H21, O113:H21, and O153:H18), all of which were eae negative. cdt is either chromosomal and homologous to cdt-V (serotypes O73:H18, O91:H21, and O113:H21) or plasmidborne and identical to cdt-III (serotype O153:H18). Among eae-negative STEC, cdt was associated with disease (P = 0.003).