Molecular Characterization and Comparative Genomics of Clinical Hybrid Shiga Toxin-Producing and Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC/ETEC) Strains in Sweden.
ABSTRACT: 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:Escherichia coli was isolated from the feces of 122 piglets with diarrhea on 55 farms in Korea. The virulence genes of each isolate were characterized by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Of the 562 isolates, 191 carried 1 or more of the virulence genes tested for in this study. Of the 191 isolates, 114 (60%) carried 1 or more of the genes for enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) fimbriae F4, F5, F6, F18, and F41 and ETEC toxins LT, STa, and STb, 57 (30%) carried 1 or more of the genes for the Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) toxins Stx1, Stx2, and Stx2e, and 21% and 37% carried the gene for enteropathogenic E. coli intimin and for enteroaggregative E. coli toxin, respectively. Collectively, our results indicate that other pathotypes of E. coli as well as ETEC can be strongly associated with diarrhea in piglets. In addition, detection of the genes for Stx1 and Stx2 indicates that pigs are reservoirs of human pathogenic STEC.
Project description:Hybrid isolates of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) encoding heat-stable enterotoxin (ST) are being reported with increasing frequency from a variety of sources. However, information regarding the plasmids that these strains harbor is scarce. In this study, we sequence and characterize a plasmid, p7v, from the STEC/ETEC hybrid strain 7v. Whole-genome phylogenetic analyses of STEC/ETEC hybrid strains and prototype E. coli isolates of other pathotypes placed 7v in the Escherichia sp. cryptic lineage 1 (CL1) clade. The complete plasmid, p7v, was determined to be 229,275 bp and encodes putative virulence factors that are typically carried on STEC plasmids as well as those often carried on ETEC plasmids, indicating that the hybrid nature of the strain extends beyond merely encoding the two toxins. Plasmid p7v carries two copies of sta with identical sequences, which were discovered to be divergent from the sta sequences found in the prototype human ETEC strains. Using a nomenclature scheme based on a phylogeny constructed from sta and stb sequences, the sta encoded on p7v is designated STa4. In silico analysis determined that p7v also encodes the K88 fimbria, a colonization factor usually associated with porcine ETEC plasmids. The p7v sequence and the presence of plasmid-encoded virulence factors are compared to those of other STEC/ETEC CL1 hybrid genomes and reveal gene acquisition/loss at the strain level. In addition, the interrogation of 24 STEC/ETEC hybrid genomes for identification of plasmid replicons, colonization factors, Stx and ST subtypes, and other plasmid-encoded virulence genes highlights the diversity of these hybrid strains.Hybrid Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli/enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC/ETEC) strains, which have been isolated from environmental, animal, and human clinical samples, may represent an emerging threat as food-borne pathogens. Characterization of these strains is important for assessing virulence potential, aiding in the development of pathogen detection methods, and understanding how the hybrid strains evolve to potentially have a greater impact on public health. This study represents, to our knowledge, both the first characterization of a closed plasmid sequence from a STEC/ETEC hybrid strain and the most comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of available STEC/ETEC hybrid genomes to date. The results demonstrate how the mobility of plasmid-associated virulence genes has resulted in the creation of a diverse plasmid repertoire within the STEC/ETEC hybrid strains.
Project description:Intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (InPEC) is a leading cause of postweaning diarrhea (PWD) in pigs. Here, a total of 455 E. coli strains were isolated from small intestinal content or feces from pigs with PWD in 56 large-scale (>500 sows; 10,000 animals per year) swine farms between 2014 and 2016. The frequency of occurrence of selected virulence factors for InPEC pathotypes was detected in 455 isolates by real-time PCR. Sequence types (STs), pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of 171 E. coli isolates from 56 swine farms were further determined. The heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) was the most common (61.76%), followed by heat-stable enterotoxin (STb) (33.19%), stx2e (21.54%), STa (15.00%), eae (8.98%), cnf2 (5.71%), stx2 (5.71%), F18 (3.25%), and F4 (2.25%) with rates varying by geographic area and year of isolation. Notably, hybrids of E. coli isolates were potentially more virulent, as some InPEC hybrids (virotype F18:LT:eae:stx2e) can rapidly cause cell death in vitro. Genotypic analysis revealed that the most prominent genotype was ST10 (12.87%). The PFGE patterns were heterogeneous but were not ST or virotype related. A total of 94.15% of isolates were multidrug-resistant, with average resistance rates ranging from 90.05% for nalidixic acid to 2.34% for meropenem. Our investigation contributes to establishing the etiology of diarrhea and developing intervention strategies against E. coli-associated diarrheal disease in the future.
Project description:Shiga toxin (Stx) is the key virulent factor in Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). To date, three Stx1 subtypes and seven Stx2 subtypes have been described in E. coli, which differed in receptor preference and toxin potency. Here, we identified a novel Stx2 subtype designated Stx2h in E. coli strains isolated from wild marmots in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, China. Stx2h shares 91.9% nucleic acid sequence identity and 92.9% amino acid identity to the nearest Stx2 subtype. The expression of Stx2h in type strain STEC299 was inducible by mitomycin C, and culture supernatant from STEC299 was cytotoxic to Vero cells. The Stx2h converting prophage was unique in terms of insertion site and genetic composition. Whole genome-based phylo- and patho-genomic analysis revealed STEC299 was closer to other pathotypes of E. coli than STEC, and possesses virulence factors from other pathotypes. Our finding enlarges the pool of Stx2 subtypes and highlights the extraordinary genomic plasticity of E. coli strains. As the emergence of new Shiga toxin genotypes and new Stx-producing pathotypes pose a great threat to the public health, Stx2h should be further included in E. coli molecular typing, and in epidemiological surveillance of E. coli infections.
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:Diarrhea caused by Escherichia coli in calves is an important problem in terms of survivability, productivity and treatment costs. In this study, 88 of 150 diarrheic animals tested positive for E. coli. Of these, 54 samples had mixed infection with other bacterial and/or parasitic agents. There are several diarrheagenic E. coli pathotypes including enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) and necrotoxigenic E. coli (NTEC). Molecular detection of virulence factors Stx2, Cdt3, Eae, CNF2, F5, Hly, Stx1, and ST revealed their presence at 39.7, 27.2, 19.3, 15.9, 13.6, 9.0, 3.4, and 3.4 percent, respectively. As many as 13.6% of the isolates lacked virulence genes and none of the isolate had LT or CNF1 toxin gene. The odds of isolating ETEC from male calves was 3.6 times (95% CI: 1.1, 12.4; P value = 0.042) that of female calves, whereas the odds of isolating NTEC from male calves was 72.9% lower (95% CI: 91.3% lower, 15.7% lower; P value = 0.024) than that in females. The odds of isolating STEC in winter was 3.3 times (95% CI: 1.1, 10.3; P value = 0.037) that of spring. Antibiograms showed 48 (54.5%) of the isolates to be multi-drug resistant. The percent resistance to tetracycline, streptomycin, ampicillin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was 79.5, 67.0, 54.5, and 43.0, respectively. Ceftazidime (14.8%), amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (13.6%) and aztreonam (11.3%) showed the lowest resistance, and none of the isolates was resistant to imipenem. The results of this study can help improve our understanding of the epidemiological aspects of E. coli infection and to devise strategies for protection against it. The prevalence of E. coli pathotypes can help potential buyers of calves to avoid infected premises. The antibiograms in this study emphasizes the risks associated with the random use of antibiotics.
Project description:Etiological diagnosis of diarrheal diseases may be complicated by their multi-factorial nature. In addition, Escherichia coli strains present in the gut can occasionally harbor virulence genes (VGs) without causing disease, which complicates the assessment of their clinical significance in particular. The aim of this study was to detect and quantify nine VGs (stx1, stx2, eae, aggR, ehxA, invA, est, elt and bfpA) typically present in five E. coli enteric pathotypes [enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC), and enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC)] in fecal samples collected from 49 patients with acute diarrhea and 32 healthy controls from Madrid, Spain. In addition, the presence of four serotype-related genes (wzx O104 and fliCH4, rfb O157, and fliCH7) was also determined. Presence of target genes was assessed using a quantitative real-time PCR assay previously developed, and the association of presence and burden of VGs with clinical disease and/or other risk factors was explored. Prevalence of ehxA [typically associated with Shigatoxin producing E. coli (STEC) and (EPEC), invA (EIEC), and the rfb O157+fliCH7 (STEC)] combination were significantly (p < 0.02) higher in the diarrheic group, while the wzx O104+fliCH4 combination was significantly (p = 0.014) more prevalent in the control group. On the other hand, eae was detected in more than 90% of the individuals in both patient and control populations, and it was not associated with bfpA, suggesting the absence of typical EPEC. No significant differences in the quantitative values were detected for any VG among study groups, but the difference in the load of aggR (EAEC) and invA in the patients with respect to the controls was close to the significance, suggesting a potential role of these VGs in the clinical signs observed when they are present at high levels.
Project description:Hybrid Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) strains of multilocus sequence type 141 (ST141) cause both urinary tract infections and diarrhea in humans and are phylogenetically positioned between STEC and UPEC strains. We used comparative genomic analysis of 85 temporally and spatially diverse ST141 E. coli strains, including 14 STEC/UPEC hybrids, collected in Germany (n?=?13) and the United States (n?=?1) to reconstruct their molecular evolution. Whole-genome sequencing data showed that 89% of the ST141 E. coli strains either were STEC/UPEC hybrids or contained a mixture of virulence genes from other pathotypes. Core genome analysis and ancestral reconstruction revealed that the ST141 E. coli strains clustered into two lineages that evolved from a common ancestor in the mid-19th century. The STEC/UPEC hybrid emerged ?100?years ago by acquiring an stx prophage, which integrated into previously unknown insertion site between rcsB and rcsD, followed by the insertion of a pathogenicity island (PAI) similar to PAI II of UPEC strain 536 (PAI II536-like). The two variants of PAI II536-like were associated with tRNA genes leuX and pheU, respectively. Finally, microevolution within PAI II536-like and acquisition of the enterohemorrhagic E. coli plasmid were observed. Our data suggest that intestinal pathogenic E. coli (IPEC)/extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) hybrids are widespread and that selection pressure within the ST141 E. coli population led to the emergence of the STEC/UPEC hybrid as a clinically important subgroup. We hypothesize that ST141 E. coli strains serve as a melting pot for pathogroup conversion between IPEC and ExPEC, contrasting the classical theory of pathogen emergence from nonpathogens and corroborating our recent phenomenon of heteropathogenicity among pathogenic E. coli strains.
Project description:Intestinal infections represent an important public health concern worldwide. Escherichia coli is one of the main bacterial agents involved in the pathogenesis of different diseases. In 2011, an outbreak of hemorrhagic colitis (HC) and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in Germany was related to a non-O157 STEC strain of O104:H4 serotype. The difficulty in identifying the origin of the bacteria related to the outbreak showed the importance of having epidemiological information from different parts of the world. The aim of this study was to perform a retrospective analysis to determine if E. coli strains isolated from cattle from different locations in Mexico have similar characteristics to those isolated in other countries. Samples obtained in different years from 252 cows belonging to 5 herds were analyzed. A total of 1,260 colonies were selected from the 252 samples, 841 (67%) of which corresponded to E. coli and 419 (33%) to other enterobacteria. In total, 78% (656) of the E. coli strains could be serotyped, of which 393 (59.9%) belonged to 5 diarrheagenic (DEC) pathotypes. Serotyping showed STEC (40.7%) and ETEC (26.7%) strains were more common. PCR assays were used to determine the presence of STEC (eae, stx1, stx2, and ehxA) and EAEC (aatA, aggR, and aapA) genes, and phylogenetic groups. The results showed that 70 strains belonging to 23 serogroups were stx1 and stx2 positive, while 13 strains from the O9 serogroup were ehxA, aggR, and eae positive. Phylogenetic analysis showed 58 (82.9%) strains belonged to A and B1 commensal phylogroups and 12 (17.1%) to B2, D and E virulent phylogroups. An assay to evaluate cross-antigenic reactivity in the serum of cattle between K9 capsular antigen and O104 LPS by ELISA showed similar responses against both antigens (p > 0.05). The antimicrobial sensitivity assay of the strains showed resistance to AM, CEP, CXM, TE, SXT, cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. The results show that cattle are carriers and potential transmitters of STEC and ETEC strains containing virulence genes. Epidemiological retrospective studies in different countries are of great help for identifying virulent bacterial strains with the potential to cause outbreaks that may have epidemiological impact in susceptible countries.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) signifies as an important etiological agent of moderate-to-severe diarrhea. This study was primarily focused on molecular identification of DEC pathotypes; their association with serogroups and estimates of resistance profiles against different antibiotics regime. METHODS:Five hundred seventy-two stool specimens from diarrhea patients were investigated for DEC pathotypes. Molecular pathotypes were identified by amplification of virulence genes associated with distinct pathotypes followed by sequencing. Diarrhea is a self-limiting disease, however, severity and persistence of infection suggest antibiotic use. Therefore, AST and MIC were determined against common antibiotic regimen. Correlations between molecular pathotypes and serogroups were analyzed by somatic "O" antigen serotyping. RESULTS:The present findings reveal incidence of DEC as an etiological agent up to a level of 21% among all diarrheal age groups. DEC infection rate was higher in children. Enteropathogenic E. coliEPEC, a molecular pathotype of DEC, was found as a predominant pathotype with highest frequency of 13.7%. Two other molecular pathotypes enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) accounted for 5.7% and 1.3%, respectively for all diarrhea incidences. Serological analysis deciphered somatic antigens O26, O2, and O3 as major serogroups identified among EPEC, ETEC, and EAEC pathotypes, respectively. All DEC pathotypes exhibited high levels of antibiotic resistance except for cotrimoxazole and norfloxacin. CONCLUSION:Comprehensive molecular characterization of DEC pathotypes, their incidence estimates, and antibiogram patterns will help in ascertaining better diagnostic and therapeutic measures in management of diarrheal diseases.