Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) are anthropozoonotic agents that range third among food-borne pathogens respective to their incidence and dangerousness in the European Union. EHEC are Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) responsible for foodborne poisoning mainly incriminated to the consumption of contaminated beef meat. Among the hundreds of STEC serotypes identified, EHEC mainly belong to O157:H7 but non-O157 can represent 20 to 70% of EHEC infections per year. Seven of those serogroups are especially of high-risk for human health, i.e. O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145 and O104. While meat can be contaminated all along the food processing chain, EHEC contamination essentially occurs at the dehiding stage of slaughtering. Investigating bacterial colonization to the skeletal-muscle extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, it appeared that environmental factors influenced specific and non-specific bacterial adhesion of O157 and non-O157 EHEC as well as biofilm formation. Importantly, mechanical treatment (i.e. shaking, centrifugation, pipetting and vortexing) inhibited and biased the results of bacterial adhesion assay. Besides stressing the importance of the protocol to investigate bacterial adhesion to ECM proteins, this study demonstrated that the colonization abilities to ECM proteins vary among EHEC serogroups and should ultimately be taken into consideration to evaluate the risk of contamination for different types of food matrices.
The genetic differences of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157 strains isolated from humans in three widely-separated areas in Japan were analyzed to provide information on possible geographic aspects of O157 pathogenicity.
A simple immunoenzymatic enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) colony check (ECC) assay was developed for the presumptive identification of priority EHEC colonies isolated on plating media from enrichment broth cultures of foods. With this approach, lipopolysaccharide extracted from a colony is spotted on the grid of a polymyxin-coated polyester cloth strip, and bound E. coli serogroup O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157 antigens are subsequently detected by sequential reactions with a pool of commercially available peroxidase-conjugated goat antibodies and tetramethylbenzidine substrate solution. Each strip can accommodate up to 15 colonies, and test results are available within 30 min. Assay performance was verified using colonies from a total of 73 target EHEC isolates covering the range of designated priority serogroups (all of which were reactive), 41 nontarget E. coli isolates including several nontarget Shiga toxin-producing E. coli serogroups (all unreactive), and 33 non-E. coli strains (all unreactive except two bacterial strains possessing O-antigenic structures in common with those of the priority EHEC). The ECC assay was reactive with target colonies grown on several types of selective and nonselective plating media designed for their cultivation. These results support the use of the ECC assay for high-throughput screening of colonies isolated on plating media for detecting priority EHEC strains in foods.
We experienced an outbreak of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) colitis. The purpose of this study was to reveal the computed tomographic (CT) findings on EHEC colitis.
The objectives of this study were to determine the influence of a symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus on persistence of Salmonella and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EHEC) within soil, and survival within Romaine lettuce. Romaine seedlings were grown with or without AM fungi. Soil surrounding plants was inoculated with ca. 8log CFU/plant of either Salmonella enterica or E. coli EHEC composites. Samples (soil, root, and shoot) were analyzed on days 1, 8, 15 and 22 for Salmonella and EHEC by direct plating and selective enrichment. Twenty-four hours after inoculation, populations of Salmonella and EHEC, respectively, were 4.20 and 3.24log CFU/root, 2.52 and 1.17log CFU/shoot, and 5.46 and 5.17log CFU/g soil. By selective enrichment, samples tested positive for Salmonella or EHEC at day 22 at rates of 94 and 68% (shoot), 97 and 56% (root), and 100 and 75% (soil), respectively, suggesting that Salmonella has a greater propensity for survival than EHEC. Salmonella populations in soil remained as high as 4.35log CFU/g by day 22, while EHEC populations dropped to 1.12log CFU/g in the same amount of time. Ninety-two percent of all Romaine leaves in our study were positive for internalized Salmonella from days 8 to 22 and remained as high as 1.26log CFU/shoot on day 22 in AM fungi+Romaine plants. There were no differences (P>0.05) between the survival of either pathogen based on the presence or absence of mycorrhizal fungi. Results of this study suggest that AM fungi do not affect the internalization and/or survival of either S. enterica or E. coli O157:H7 in Romaine lettuce seedlings. Our results should provide Romaine lettuce farmers confidence that the presence and/or application of AM fungi to crop soil is not a contributing factor to the internalization and survival of Salmonella or E. coli O157:H7 within Romaine lettuce plants.
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.
Host attachment and fluid shear are integrated into a mechanical signal regulating virulence in Escherichia coli O157:H7
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published about 5 years ago
Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is a foodborne pathogen causing hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome. EHEC colonizes the intestinal tract through a range of virulence factors encoded by the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE), as well as Shiga toxin. Although the factors involved in colonization and disease are well characterized, how EHEC regulates its expression in response to a host encounter is not well understood. Here, we report that EHEC perceives attachment to host cells as a mechanical cue that leads to expression of LEE-encoded virulence genes. This signal is transduced via the LEE-encoded global regulator of LEE-encoded regulator (Ler) and global regulator of Ler and is further enhanced by levels of shear force similar to peristaltic forces in the intestinal tract. Our data suggest that, in addition to a range of chemical environmental signals, EHEC is capable of sensing and responding to mechanical cues to adapt to its host’s physiology.
Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157 (O157) strains can be classified into clades (one of several phylogenetic groups) by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs): these are clade 1, clade 2, clade 3, descendant and ancestral clades 4/5, clade 6, clade 7, clade 8, clade 9, and clade 12. Some recent studies showed that some O157 strains in clade 8 produced a larger amount of Shiga toxin (Stx) 2 than other strains. In this study, 1121 epidemiologically unlinked strains of O157 isolated in Chiba Prefecture, Japan were classified into clades during 1996-2014. Clade 8 strains were further classified into subclade 8a (67 strains) and subclade 8b (48 strains) using SNP analysis. In the absence of mitomycin C (MMC), subclade 8a strains in this study produced significantly greater amounts of Stx2 than subclade 8b strains. However, in the presence of MMC, the levels of Stx2 production in subclade 8b strains were significantly greater than subclade 8a strains. On the other hand, a recent study reported that the Stx2 production level in O157 strains was determined mainly by the subtypes of Stx2a phage (ϕStx2_α, β, γ, δ, ε, and ζ). Using O157 strains in this study, the Stx2a phages were classified into these subtypes. In this study, all strains of subclades 8a and 8b carried ϕStx2a_γ and ϕStx2a_δ, respectively. Some strains in clade 6 also carried ϕStx2a_δ. In the presence of MMC, subclade 8b strains produced significantly greater amounts of Stx2 than clade 6 strains carrying ϕStx2_δ. In this study, we propose that Stx2 production in subclade 8b strains in the presence of MMC might be enhanced due to genetic factors other than ϕStx2_δ.
Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (EHEC) has caused foodborne outbreaks worldwide and the bacterium forms antimicrobial-tolerant biofilms. We investigated the abilities of various plant essential oils and their components to inhibit biofilm formation by EHEC. Bay, clove, pimento berry oils and their major common constituent eugenol at 0.005% (v/v) were found to markedly inhibit EHEC biofilm formation without affecting planktonic cell growth. In addition, three other eugenol derivatives isoeugenol, 2-methoxy-4-propylphenol, and 4-ethylguaiacol had antibiofilm activity, indicating that the C-1 hydroxyl unit, the C-2 methoxy unit, and C-4 alkyl or alkane chain on the benzene ring of eugenol play important roles in antibiofilm activity. Interestingly, these essential oils and eugenol did not inhibit biofilm formation by three laboratory E. coli K-12 strains that reduced curli fimbriae production. Transcriptional analysis showed that eugenol down-regulated 17 of 28 genes analysed, including curli genes (csgABDFG), type I fimbriae genes (fimCDH) and ler-controlled toxin genes (espD, escJ, escR, and tir), which are required for biofilm formation and the attachment and effacement phenotype. In addition, biocompatible poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) coatings containing clove oil or eugenol exhibited efficient biofilm inhibition on solid surfaces. In a Caenorhabditis elegans nematode model, clove oil and eugenol attenuated the virulence of EHEC.
Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) causes diarrhea and hemorrhagic colitis with life-threatening complications, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome. Their major virulence factor is Shiga toxin (Stx), which is encoded by bacteriophages. Of the two types of Stx, the production of Stx2, particularly that of Stx2a (a subtype of Stx2), is a major risk factor for severe EHEC infections, but the Stx2 production level is highly variable between strains. Here, we define four major and two minor subtypes of Stx2a-encoding phages according to their replication proteins. The subtypes are correlated with Stx2a titers produced by the host O157 strains, suggesting a critical role of the phage subtype in determining the Stx2a production level. We further show that one of the two subclades in the clade 8, a proposed hyper-virulent lineage of O157, carries the Stx2 phage subtype that confers the highest Stx2 production to the host strain. The presence of this subclade may explain the proposed high virulence potential of clade 8. These results provide novel insights into the variation in virulence among O157 strains and highlight the role of phage variation in determining the production level of the virulence factors that phages encode.