Virulence genes and molecular typing of different groups of Escherichia coli O157 strains in cattle.
ABSTRACT: Characterization of an Escherichia coli O157 strain collection (n = 42) derived from healthy Hungarian cattle revealed the existence of diverse pathotypes. Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC; eae positive) appeared to be the most frequent pathotype (n = 22 strains), 11 O157 strains were typical enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC; stx and eae positive), and 9 O157 strains were atypical, with none of the key stx and eae virulence genes detected. EHEC and EPEC O157 strains all carried eae-gamma, tir-gamma, tccP, and paa. Other virulence genes located on the pO157 virulence plasmid and different O islands (O island 43 [OI-43] and OI-122), as well as espJ and espM, also characterized the EPEC and EHEC O157 strains with similar frequencies. However, none of these virulence genes were detected by PCR in atypical O157 strains. Interestingly, five of nine atypical O157 strains produced cytolethal distending toxin V (CDT-V) and carried genes encoding long polar fimbriae. Macro-restriction fragment enzyme analysis (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis) revealed that these E. coli O157 strains belong to four main clusters. Multilocus sequence typing analysis revealed that five housekeeping genes were identical in EHEC and EPEC O157 strains but were different in the atypical O157 strains. These results suggest that the Hungarian bovine E. coli O157 strains represent at least two main clones: EHEC/EPEC O157:H7/NM (nonmotile) and atypical CDT-V-producing O157 strains with H antigens different from H7. The CDT-V-producing O157 strains represent a novel genogroup. The pathogenic potential of these strains remains to be elucidated.
Project description:Alongside the well-characterized enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7, serogroup O157 comprises sorbitol-fermenting typical and atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC/aEPEC) strains that carry the intimin-encoding gene eae but not Shiga toxin-encoding genes (stx). Since little is known about these pathogens, we characterized 30 clinical isolates from patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) or uncomplicated diarrhea with respect to their flagellin gene (fliC) type and multilocus sequence type (MLST). Moreover, we applied whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to determine the phylogenetic relationship with other eae-positive EHEC serotypes and the composition of the rfbO157 region. fliC typing resulted in five fliC types (H7, H16, H34, H39, and H45). Isolates of each fliC type shared a unique ST. In comparison to the 42 HUS-associated E. coli (HUSEC) strains, only the stx-negative isolates with fliCH7 shared their ST with EHEC O157:H7/H(-) strains. With the exception of one O157:H(-) fliCH16 isolate, HUS was exclusively associated with fliCH7. WGS corroborated the separation of the fliCH7 isolates, which were closely related to the EHEC O157:H7/H(-) isolates, and the diverse group of isolates exhibiting different fliC types, indicating independent evolution of the different serotypes. This was also supported by the heterogeneity within the rfbO157 region that exhibited extensive recombinations. The genotypic subtypes and distribution of clinical symptoms suggested that the stx-negative O157 strains with fliCH7 were originally EHEC strains that lost stx The remaining isolates form a distinct and diverse group of atypical EPEC isolates that do not possess the full spectrum of virulence genes, underlining the importance of identifying the H antigen for clinical risk assessment.
Project description:Cytolethal distending toxins (CDT) are potent cytotoxins of several Gram-negative pathogenic bacteria, including Escherichia coli, in which five types (CDT-I to CDT-V) have been identified so far. CDT-V is frequently associated with Shiga-toxigenic E. coli (STEC), enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) O157 strains, and strains not fitting any established pathotypes. In this study, we were the first to sequence and annotate a 31.2-kb-long, noninducible P2-like prophage carrying the cdt-V operon from an stx- and eae-negative E. coli O157:H43 strain of bovine origin. The cdt-V operon is integrated in the place of the tin and old phage immunity genes (termed the TO region) of the prophage, and the prophage itself is integrated into the bacterial chromosome between the housekeeping genes cpxP and fieF. The presence of P2-like genes (n = 20) was investigated in a further five CDT-V-positive bovine E. coli O157 strains of various serotypes, three EHEC O157:NM strains, four strains expressing other variants of CDT, and eight CDT-negative strains. All but one CDT-V-positive atypical O157 strain uniformly carried all the investigated genomic regions of P2-like phages, while the EHEC O157 strains missed three regions and the CDT-V-negative strains carried only a few P2-like sequences. Our results suggest that P2-like phages play a role in the dissemination of cdt-V between E. coli O157 strains and that after integration into the bacterial chromosome, they adapted to the respective hosts and became temperate.
Project description:Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) are diarrheagenic pathogens that colonize the gut through the formation of attaching and effacing lesions, which depend on the translocation of effector proteins via a locus of enterocyte effacement-encoded type III secretion system. Recently, two effector proteins, EspJ and TccP, which are encoded by adjacent genes on prophage CP-933U in EHEC O157:H7, have been identified. TccP consists of a unique N-terminus region and several proline-rich domains. In this project we determined the distribution of tccP in O157:H7, in non-O157 EHEC, and in typical and atypical EPEC isolates. All the EHEC O157:H7 strains tested were tccP(+). Unexpectedly, tccP was also found in non-O157 EHEC, and in typical and atypical EPEC isolates, particularly in strains belonging to serogroups O26 (EHEC), O119 (typical EPEC), and O55 (atypical EPEC). We recorded some variation in the length of tccP, which reflects diversity in the number of the proline-rich repeats. These results show the existence of a class of "attaching and effacing" pathogens which express a combination of EPEC and EHEC virulence determinants.
Project description:Hybrid strains of Escherichia coli combine virulence traits of diarrheagenic (DEC) and extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC), but it is poorly understood whether these combined features improve the virulence potential of such strains. We have previously identified a uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) strain (UPEC 252) harboring the eae gene that encodes the adhesin intimin and is located in the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island. The LEE-encoded proteins allow enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) to form attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions in enterocytes. We sought to characterize UPEC 252 through whole-genome sequencing and phenotypic virulence assays. Genome analysis unveiled that this strain harbors a complete LEE region, with more than 97% of identity comparing to E2348/69 (EPEC) and O157:H7 Sakai (EHEC) prototype strains, which was functional, since UPEC 252 expressed the LEE-encoded proteins EspB and intimin and induced actin accumulation foci in HeLa cells. Phylogenetic analysis performed comparing 1,000 single-copy shared genes clustered UPEC 252 with atypical EPEC strains that belong to the sequence type 10, phylogroup A. Additionally, UPEC 252 was resistant to the bactericidal power of human serum and colonized cells of the urinary (T24 and HEK293-T) and intestinal (Caco-2 and LS174T) tracts. Our findings suggest that UPEC 252 is an atypical EPEC strain that emerges as a hybrid strain (aEPEC/UPEC), which could colonize new niches and potentially cause intestinal and extraintestinal infections.
Project description:Escherichia coli O157:H7 and other pathogenic E. coli strains are enteric pathogens associated with food safety threats and which remain a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the current study, we investigated whether enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) strains can be rapidly and specifically differentiated with multiplex PCR (mPCR) utilizing selected biomarkers associated with each strain's respective virulence genotype. Primers were designed to amplify multiple intimin (eae) and long polar fimbriae (lpfA) variants, the bundle-forming pilus gene bfpA, and the Shiga toxin-encoding genes stx1 and stx2. We demonstrated consistent amplification of genes specific to the prototype EHEC O157:H7 EDL933 (lpfA1-3, lpfA2-2, stx1, stx2, and eae-γ) and EPEC O127:H6 E2348/69 (eae-α, lpfA1-1, and bfpA) strains using the optimized mPCR protocol with purified genomic DNA (gDNA). A screen of gDNA from isolates in a diarrheagenic E. coli collection revealed that the mPCR assay was successful in predicting the correct pathotype of EPEC and EHEC clones grouped in the distinctive phylogenetic disease clusters EPEC1 and EHEC1, and was able to differentiate EHEC1 from EHEC2 clusters. The assay detection threshold was 2 × 10(4) CFU per PCR reaction for EHEC and EPEC. mPCR was also used to screen Argentinean clinical samples from hemolytic uremic syndrome and diarrheal patients, resulting in 91% sensitivity and 84% specificity when compared to established molecular diagnostic procedures. In conclusion, our mPCR methodology permitted differentiation of EPEC, STEC and EHEC strains from other pathogenic E. coli; therefore, the assay becomes an additional tool for rapid diagnosis of these organisms.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) can cause severe disease such as bloody diarrhoea and haemolytic uraemic syndrome in humans. Besides production of Shiga toxins, the presence of LEE (eae-gene) and non-LEE (nle) encoded effector genes harboured on O-islands OI-122, OI-71 and OI-57 is associated with EHEC virulence and their frequency in outbreaks. Genes encoded by the EHEC-plasmid are putative virulence markers of EHEC. EHEC-plasmids, LEE and non-LEE effector genes have also been detected in some strains of enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC). The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between EHEC and EPEC for virulence genes encoded by genomic O-islands and by the EHEC-plasmids. RESULTS: Nle genes ent/espL2, nleB and nleE (OI-122), nleA, nleF and nleH1-2 (OI-71), nleG5-2 and nleG6-2 (OI-57), espK (CP-933N) and the EHEC-plasmid encoded genes ehxA, espP, etpD and katP were searched in 73 typical and in 235 atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) strains. Typical and atypical EPEC each fall into two clusters. Cluster 1 typical (n = 46) and atypical (n = 129) EPEC strains were characterized by the presence of OI-122 encoded genes and grouped together with 64 investigated EHEC strains. Cluster 2 typical (n = 27) and atypical (n = 106) strains grouped together with 52 LEE-negative, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and with 21 apathogenic E. coli strains. Typical EPEC Cluster 1 strains belonged to serotypes frequently involved in severe illness and outbreaks in children (O111:H2, O114:H2, O55:H6, O127:H6 and O142:H6). Atypical EPEC Cluster 1 strains were characterized by serotypes related to EHEC (O26:H11, O55:H7, O145:H28, O103:H2 and O103:H25). CONCLUSION: The OI-122 encoded nleB gene was found to be most closely associated with Cluster 1 strains and may serve as a diagnostic tool for the identification of virulent EHEC and EPEC seropathotypes. OI-71 encoded genes nleA, nleF and nleH1-2 are less associated with Cluster 1 strains. EHEC-plasmid, OI-57 and CP-933 associated genes showed only weak similarities with virulent Cluster 1 EHEC and EPEC strains.
Project description:Among strains of Shiga-toxin (Stx) producing Escherichia coli (STEC), seven serogroups (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157) are associated with severe clinical illness in humans. These strains are also called enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), and the development of methods for their reliable detection from food has been challenging thus far. PCR detection of major EHEC virulence genes stx1, stx2, eae, and O-serogroup-specific genes is useful but does not identify EHEC strains specifically. Searching for the presence of additional genes issued from E. coli O157:H7 genomic islands OI-122 and OI-71 increases the specificity but does not clearly discriminate EHEC from enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) strains. Here, we identified two putative genes, called Z2098 and Z2099, from the genomic island OI-57 that were closely associated with EHEC and their stx-negative derivative strains (87% for Z2098 and 91% for Z2099). Z2098 and Z2099 were rarely found in EPEC (10% for Z2098 and 12% for Z2099), STEC (2 and 15%), and apathogenic E. coli (1% each) strains. Our findings indicate that Z2098 and Z2099 are useful genetic markers for a more targeted diagnosis of typical EHEC and new emerging EHEC strains.
Project description:We identified a cytolethal distending toxin (cdt) gene cluster in 87, 6, and 0% of sorbitol-fermenting (SF) enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H(-), EHEC O157:H7, and E. coli O55:H7/H(-) strains, respectively. The toxin was expressed by the wild-type EHEC O157 strains and by a cdt-containing cosmid from a library of SF EHEC O157:H(-) strain 493/89. The cdt flanks in strain 493/89 were homologous to bacteriophages P2 and lambda. Our data demonstrate that cdt, encoding a potential virulence factor, is present in the EHEC O157 complex and suggest that cdt may have been acquired by phage transduction.
Project description:We investigated the genetic relationships of 54 Escherichia coli O103 strains from humans, animals, and meat by molecular typing of housekeeping and virulence genes and by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of seven housekeeping genes revealed seven profiles, I through VII. MLST profiles I plus III cover 45 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O103:H2 strains from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and Northern Ireland that are characterized by the intimin (eae) epsilon gene and carry enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) virulence plasmids. MLST profile II groups five human and animal enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) O103:H2 strains that were positive for intimin (eae) beta. Although strains belonging to MLST groups II and I plus III are closely related to each other (92.6% identity), major differences were found in the housekeeping icdA gene and in the virulence-associated genes eae and escD. E. coli O103 strains with MLST patterns IV to VII are genetically distant from MLST I, II, and III strains, as are the non-O103 E. coli strains EDL933 (O157), MG1655 (K-12), and CFT073 (O6). Comparison of MLST results with those of PFGE and virulence typing demonstrated that E. coli O103 STEC and EPEC have recently acquired different virulence genes and DNA rearrangements, causing alterations in their PFGE patterns. PFGE typing was very useful for identification of genetically closely related subgroups among MLST I strains, such as Stx2-producing STEC O103 strains from patients with hemolytic uremic syndrome. Analysis of virulence genes contributed to grouping of E. coli O103 strains into EPEC and STEC. Novel virulence markers, such as efa (EHEC factor for adherence), paa (porcine adherence factor), and cif (cell cycle-inhibiting factor), were found widely associated with E. coli O103 EPEC and STEC strains.
Project description:The virulence plasmid of Escherichia coli O157 strain EDL933 carries a 10-kb putative virulence gene designated toxB. Little is known about the distribution of this gene among E. coli O157 strains or its presence in other enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) strains. We developed PCR and hybridization tools for the detection of the entire toxB sequence and investigated its presence in a collection of EHEC O157 strains and other EHEC and EPEC strains belonging to different serogroups and isolated from different sources. The EHEC O157 strains reacted with all of the PCR primers and probes used, thus indicating the presence of a complete toxB gene regardless of the human or bovine origin of the isolates. Similar positive reactions were observed for about 50% of the EHEC O26 strains tested and a few other EHEC and EPEC strains. However, the size of the DNA fragments hybridizing with the toxB probes differed from that of the positive fragments from EHEC O157, suggesting a polymorphism in the toxB genes present in the different E. coli serogroups. Moreover, several EHEC and EPEC strains belonging to different serogroups reacted with only some of the genetic tools used, suggesting either the existence of major variants of toxB or the presence of fragments of the gene. Southern blotting analysis showed that toxB sequences were located on large plasmids in EHEC and EPEC O26 as well.