Characterization of Shiga Toxin Subtypes and Virulence Genes in Porcine Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:BACKGROUND: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is recognized as an important human diarrheal pathogen. Swine plays an important role as a carrier of this pathogen. In this study we determined the prevalence and characteristics of STEC from healthy swine collected between May 2011 and August 2012 from 3 cities/provinces in China. RESULTS: A total of 1003 samples, including 326 fecal, 351 small intestinal contents and 326 colon contents samples, was analyzed. Two hundred and fifty five samples were stx-positive by PCR and 93 STEC isolates were recovered from 62 stx-positive samples. Twelve O serogroups and 19 O:H serotypes including 6 serotypes (O100:H20/[H20], O143:H38/[H38], O87:H10, O172:H30/[H30], O159:H16, O9:H30/[H30]) rarely found in swine and ruminants were identified. All 93 STEC isolates harbored stx2 only, all of which were stx2e subtype including 1 isolate being a new variant of stx2e. 53.76%, 15.05% and 2.15% STEC isolates carried astA, hlyA and ehxA respectively. Four STEC isolates harbored the high-pathogenicity island. Of the 15 adherence-associated genes tested, 13 (eae, efa1, iha, lpfAO113, lpfAO157/OI-154, lpfAO157/OI-141, toxB, saa, F4, F5, F6, F17 or F41) were all absent while 2 (paa and F18) were present in 7 and 4 STEC isolates respectively. The majority of the isolates were resistant to tetracycline (79.57%), nalidixic acid (78.49%), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (73.12%) and kanamycin (55.91%). The STEC isolates were divided into 63 pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns and 21 sequence types (STs). Isolates of the same STs generally showed the same or similar drug resistance patterns. A higher proportion of STEC isolates from Chongqing showed multidrug resistance with one ST (ST3628) resistant to 14 antimicrobials. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that swine is a significant reservoir of STEC strains in China. Based on comparison by serotypes and sequence types with human strains and presence of virulence genes, the swine STEC may have a low potential to cause human disease.
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: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.
Project description:Hybrid E. coli pathotypes are representing emerging public health threats with enhanced virulence from different pathotypes. Hybrids of Shiga toxin-producing and enterotoxigenic E. coli (STEC/ETEC) have been reported to be associated with diarrheal disease and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in humans. Here, we identified and characterized four clinical STEC/ETEC hybrids from diarrheal patients with or without fever or abdominal pain and healthy contact in Sweden. Rare stx2 subtypes were present in STEC/ETEC hybrids. Stx2 production was detectable in stx2a and stx2e containing strains. Different copies of ETEC virulence marker, sta gene, were found in two hybrids. Three sta subtypes, namely, sta1, sta4 and sta5 were designated, with sta4 being predominant. The hybrids represented diverse and rare serotypes (O15:H16, O187:H28, O100:H30, and O136:H12). Genome-wide phylogeny revealed that these hybrids exhibited close relatedness with certain ETEC, STEC/ETEC hybrid and commensal E. coli strains, implying the potential acquisition of Stx-phages or/and ETEC virulence genes in the emergence of STEC/ETEC hybrids. Given the emergence and public health significance of hybrid pathotypes, a broader range of virulence markers should be considered in the E. coli pathotypes diagnostics, and targeted follow up of cases is suggested to better understand the hybrid infection.
Project description:Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) cause serious foodborne infections in humans. These two pathogroups are defined based on the pathogroup-associated virulence genes: stx encoding Shiga toxin (Stx) for STEC and elt encoding heat-labile and/or est encoding heat-stable enterotoxin (ST) for ETEC. The study investigated the genomics of STEC/ETEC hybrid strains to determine their phylogenetic position among E. coli and to define the virulence genes they harbor.The whole genomes of three STEC/ETEC strains possessing both stx and est genes were sequenced using PacBio RS sequencer. Two of the strains were isolated from the patients, one with hemolytic uremic syndrome, and one with diarrhea. The third strain was of bovine origin. Core genome analysis of the shared chromosomal genes and comparison with E. coli and Shigella spp. reference genomes was performed to determine the phylogenetic position of the STEC/ETEC strains. In addition, a set of virulence genes and ETEC colonization factors were extracted from the genomes. The production of Stx and ST were studied.The human STEC/ETEC strains clustered with strains representing ETEC, STEC, enteroaggregative E. coli, and commensal and laboratory-adapted E. coli. However, the bovine STEC/ETEC strain formed a remote cluster with two STECs of bovine origin. All three STEC/ETEC strains harbored several other virulence genes, apart from stx and est, and lacked ETEC colonization factors. Two STEC/ETEC strains produced both toxins and one strain Stx only.This study shows that pathogroup-associated virulence genes of different E. coli can co-exist in strains originating from different phylogenetic lineages. The possibility of virulence genes to be associated with several E. coli pathogroups should be taken into account in strain typing and in epidemiological surveillance. Development of novel hybrid E. coli strains may cause a new public health risk, which challenges the traditional diagnostics of E. coli infections.
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: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:Strains of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) have been associated with outbreaks of diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis, and hemolytic-uremic syndrome in humans. Most clinical signs of disease arise as a consequence of the production of Shiga toxin 1 (Stx1), Stx2 or combinations of these toxins. Other major virulence factors include enterohemorrhagic E. coli hemolysin (EHEC hlyA), and intimin, the product of the eaeA gene that is involved in the attaching and effacing adherence phenotype. In this study, a series of multiplex-PCR assays were developed to detect the eight most-important E. coli genes associated with virulence, two that define the serotype and therefore the identity of the organism, and a built-in gene detection control. Those genes detected were stx(1), stx(2), stx(2c), stx(2d), stx(2e), stx(2f), EHEC hlyA, and eaeA, as well as rfbE, which encodes the E. coli O157 serotype; fliC, which encodes the E. coli flagellum H7 serotype; and the E. coli 16S rRNA, which was included as an internal control. A total of 129 E. coli strains, including 81 that were O157:H7, 10 that were O157:non-H7, and 38 that were non-O157 isolates, were investigated. Among the 129 samples, 101 (78.3%) were stx positive, while 28 (21.7%) were lacked stx. Of these 129 isolates, 92 (71.3%) were EHEC hlyA positive and 96 (74.4%) were eaeA positive. All STEC strains were identified by this procedure. In addition, all Stx2 subtypes, which had been initially identified by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism, were identified by this method. A particular strength of the assay was the identification of these 11 genes without the need to use restriction enzyme digestion. The proposed method is a simple, reliable, and rapid procedure that can detect the major virulence factors of E. coli while differentiating O157:H7 from non-O157 isolates.
Project description:Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are an emerging group of zoonotic pathogens. Ruminants are the natural reservoir of STEC. In this study we determined the prevalence and characteristics of the STEC in plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China. A total of 1116 pika samples, including 294 intestinal contents samples, 317 fecal samples, and 505 intestinal contents samples, were collected from May to August in the years 2012, 2013, and 2015, respectively. Twenty-one samples (1.88%) yielded at least one STEC isolate; in total, 22 STEC isolates were recovered. Thirteen different O serogroups and 14 serotypes were identified. One stx 1 subtype (stx 1a) and three stx 2 subtypes (stx 2a, stx 2b, and stx 2d) were present in the STEC isolates. Fifteen, fourteen, and three STEC isolates harbored the virulence genes ehxA, subA, and astA, respectively. Adherence-associated genes iha and saa were, respectively, present in 72.73 and 68.18% of the STEC isolates. Twenty antibiotics were active against all the STEC isolates; all strains were resistant to penicillin G, and some to cephalothin or streptomycin. The 22 STEC isolates were divided into 16 pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns and 12 sequence types. Plateau pikas may play a role in the ongoing circulation of STEC in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. This study provides the first report on STEC in plateau pikas and new information about STEC reservoirs in wildlife. Based on the serotypes, virulence gene profiles and multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) analysis, the majority of these pika STECs may pose a low public health risk.