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Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain origin, lineage, and Shiga toxin 2 expression affect colonization of cattle

Lowe, R.M.S., Baines, D., Selinger, L.B., Thomas, J.E., McAllister, T.A., Sharma, R. (2009). Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain origin, lineage, and Shiga toxin 2 expression affect colonization of cattle, 75(15), 5074-5081. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00391-09

Abstract

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 has evolved into an important human pathogen with cattle as the main reservoir. The recent discovery of E. coli O157:H7-induced pathologies in challenged cattle has suggested that previously discounted bacterial virulence factors may contribute to the colonization of cattle. The objective of the present study was to examine the impact of lineage type, cytotoxin activity, and cytotoxin expression on the amount of E. coli O157:H7 colonization of cattle tissue and cells in vitro. Using selected bovine- and human-origin strains, we determined that lineage type predicted the amount of E. coli O157:H7 strain colonization: lineage I > intermediate lineages > lineage II. All E. coli O157:H7 strain colonization was dose dependent, with threshold colonization at 103 to 10 5 CFU and maximum colonization at 107 CFU. We also determined that an as-yet-unknown factor of strain origin was the most dominant predictor of the amount of strain colonization in vitro. The amount of E. coli O157:H7 colonization was also influenced by strain cytotoxin activity and the inclusion of cytotoxins from lineage I or intermediate lineage strains increased colonization of a lineage II strain. There was a higher level of expression of the Shiga toxin 1 gene (stx1) in human-origin strains than in bovine-origin strains. In addition, lineage I strains expressed higher levels of the Shiga toxin 2 gene (stx2). The present study supports a role for strain origin, lineage type, cytotoxin activity, and stx2 expression in modulating the amount of E. coli O157:H7 colonization of cattle. Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

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