Project description:We performed a high-throughput mapping of the 5’ end transcriptome of the pAA plasmid of the clinical Escherichia coli O104:H4 (E. coli O104:H4) isolate LB226692. We employed differential RNA-sequencing (dRNA-seq), a terminator exonuclease (TEX)-based RNA-seq approach allowing for the discrimination of primary and processed transcripts. This method has proven to be a powerful tool for the mapping of transcription start sites (TSS) and detection of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in bacteria. We catalogued pAA-associated TSS and processing sites on a plasmid-wide scale and performed a detailed analysis of the primary transcriptome focusing on pAA virulence gene expression. Overall design: Exponentially growing E. coli O104:H4 isolate LB226692 was subjected to dRNA-seq. A detailed analysis of the pAA plasmid primary transcriptome focusing on virulence gene expression was performed
Project description:Two isolates of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O104:H4 were isolated in France in 2004 and 2009. Both were characterized and compared to the strain which caused the German outbreak in 2011 and to other O104:H4 strains. This suggests that different O104:H4 EHEC strains were present several years prior to the 2011 outbreak.
Project description:The emergence of novel pathogens poses a major public health threat causing widespread epidemics in susceptible populations. The Escherichia coli O104:H4 strain implicated in a 2011 outbreak in northern Germany caused the highest frequency of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and death ever recorded in a single E. coli outbreak. Therefore, it has been suggested that this strain is more virulent than other pathogenic E. coli (e.g., E. coli O157:H7). The E. coli O104:H4 outbreak strain possesses multiple virulence factors from both Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing E. coli (STEC) and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC), though the mechanism of pathogenesis is not known. Here, we demonstrate that E. coli O104:H4 produces a stable biofilm in vitro and that in vivo virulence gene expression is highest when E. coli O104:H4 overexpresses genes required for aggregation and exopolysaccharide production, a characteristic of bacterial cells residing within an established biofilm. Interrupting exopolysaccharide production and biofilm formation may therefore represent effective strategies for combating future E. coli O104:H4 infections.
Project description:Escherichia coli biotype O104:H4 recently caused the deadliest E. coli outbreak ever reported. Based on prior results, it was hypothesized that compounds inhibiting biofilm formation by O104:H4 would reduce its pathogenesis. The nonionic surfactants polysorbate 80 (PS80) and polysorbate 20 (PS20) were found to reduce biofilms by ? 90% at submicromolar concentrations and elicited nearly complete dispersal of preformed biofilms. PS80 did not significantly impact in vivo colonization in a mouse infection model; however, mice treated with PS80 exhibited almost no intestinal inflammation or tissue damage while untreated mice exhibited robust pathology. As PS20 and PS80 are classified as 'Generally Recognized as Safe' (GRAS) compounds by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these compounds have clinical potential to treat future O104:H4 outbreaks.
Project description:A real-time multiplex PCR targeting stx(2), wzy(O104), and fliC(H4) of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O104:H4 correctly determined the presence or absence of these genes in 253 EHEC isolates and enrichment cultures of stool samples from 132 patients. It is a rapid, sensitive, and specific tool for detecting EHEC O104:H4 in human stools.
Project description:In 2011, a Shiga toxin-producing Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC Stx2a+) O104:H4 strain caused a serious outbreak of acute gastroenteritis and hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) in Germany. In 2013, E. coli O104:H4 isolates were obtained from a patient with HUS and her friend showing only gastrointestinal complaints. The antimicrobial resistance and virulence profiles of these isolates together with three EAEC Stx2a+ O104:H4 isolates from 2011 were determined and compared. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was performed for detailed characterization and to determine genetic relationship of the isolates. Four additional genomes of EAEC Stx2a+ O104:H4 isolates of 2009 and 2011 available on NCBI were included in the virulence and phylogenetic analysis. All E. coli O104:H4 isolates tested were positive for stx2a, aatA, and terD but were negative for escV. All, except one 2011 isolate, were positive for aggR and were therefore considered EAEC. The EAEC Stx2a+ O104:H4 isolates of 2013 belonged to sequence type (ST) ST678 as the 2011 isolates and showed slightly different resistance and virulence patterns compared to the 2011 isolates. Core-genome phylogenetic analysis showed that the isolates of 2013 formed a separate cluster from the isolates of 2011 and 2009 by 27 and 20 different alleles, respectively. In addition, only a one-allele difference was found between the isolate of the HUS-patient and that of her friend. Our study shows that EAEC Stx2a+ O104:H4 strains highly similar to the 2011 outbreak clone in their core genome are still circulating necessitating proper surveillance to prevent further outbreaks with these potentially pathogenic strains. In addition, WGS not only provided a detailed characterization of the isolates but its high discriminatory power also enabled us to discriminate the 2013 isolates from the isolates of 2009 and 2011 expediting the use of WGS in public health services to rapidly apply proper infection control strategies.
Project description:In 2011, a large outbreak of an unusual bacterial strain occurred in Europe. This strain was characterized as a hybrid of an enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) and a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) strain of the serotype O104:H4. Here, we present a single PCR targeting the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats locus of E. coli O104:H4 (CRISPR(O104:H4)) for specific detection of EAEC STEC O104:H4 strains from different geographical locations and time periods. The specificity of the CRISPR(O104:H4) PCR was investigated using 1,321 E. coli strains, including reference strains for E. coli O serogroups O1 to O186 and flagellar (H) types H1 to H56. The assay was compared for specificity using PCR assays targeting different O104 antigen-encoding genes (wbwC(O104), wzx(O104), and wzy(O104)). The PCR assays reacted with all types of E. coli O104 strains (O104:H2, O104:H4, O104:H7, and O104:H21) and with E. coli O8 and O9 strains carrying the K9 capsular antigen and were therefore not specific for detection of the EAEC STEC O104:H4 type. A single PCR developed for the CRISPR(O104:H4) target was sufficient for specific identification and detection of the 48 tested EAEC STEC O104:H4 strains. The 35 E. coli O104 strains expressing H types other than H4 as well as 8 E. coli strains carrying a K9 capsular antigen tested all negative for the CRISPR(O104:H4) locus. Only 12 (0.94%) of the 1,273 non-O104:H4 E. coli strains (serotypes Ont:H2, O43:H2, O141:H2, and O174:H2) reacted positive in the CRISPR(O104:H4) PCR (99.06% specificity).
Project description:In 2011, a severe outbreak of hemolytic-uremic syndrome was caused by an unusual, highly virulent enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) O104:H4 strain, which possessed EHEC virulence traits in the genetic background of human-adapted enteroaggregative E. coli. To determine magnitude of fecal shedding and site of colonization of EHEC O104:H4 in a livestock host, 30 (ten/strain) weaned calves were inoculated with 10(10) CFU of EHEC O104:H4, EHEC O157:H7 (positive control) or E. coli strain 123 (negative control) and necropsied (4 or 28 d.p.i.). E. coli O157:H7 was recovered until 28 d.p.i. and O104:H4 until 24 d.p.i. At 4 d.p.i., EHEC O104:H4 was isolated from intestinal content and detected associated with the intestinal mucosa. These results are the first evidence that cattle, the most important EHEC reservoir, can also carry unusual EHEC strains at least transiently, questioning our current understanding of the molecular basis of host adaptation of this important E. coli pathovar.
Project description:A renewed interest in Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains was sparked due to the appearance of an outbreak in 2011, causing 3,816 diarrheal cases and some deaths in Europe. The causative strain was classified as enteroaggregative E. coli of serotype O104:H4 that had acquired Shiga toxin genes. The ability of STEC O104:H4 to cause disease relies greatly on the bacteria's capacity to colonize, persist, and produce Shiga toxin. However, not much is known about the colonization factors of this strain. Because long polar fimbriae (lpf) lpf1 and lpf2 operons encode important colonization factors in other STEC isolates and E. coli O104:H4 possesses both loci, we hypothesized that Lpf is required for adhesion and colonization. In this study, isogenic lpfA1 and lpfA2 major fimbrial subunit mutants were constructed. To determine their role in O104:H4's virulence, we assessed their ability to adhere to non-polarized and polarized intestinal epithelial cells. The ?lpfA1 showed decreased adherence in both cell systems, while the ?lpfA2 only showed a decrease in adherence to polarized Caco-2 cells. We also tested the O104:H4 mutants' ability to form biofilm and found that the ?lpfA1 was unable to form a stable biofilm. In an in vivo murine model of intestinal colonization, the ?lpfA1 had a reduced ability to colonize the cecum and large intestine, consistent with the in vitro data. Further, we tested the lpfA1 mutants' ability to compete against the wild type. We found that in the in vitro and in vivo models, the presence of the wild type O104:H4 facilitates increased adherence of the ?lpfA1 to levels exceeding that of the wild type. Overall, our data demonstrated that Lpf1 is one of the factors responsible for O104:H4 intestinal adhesion and colonization.