Eliza B Wolfson

The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Publications (3)22.81 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial attachment to plant and animal surfaces is generally thought to constitute the initial step in colonisation, requiring adherence factors such as flagella and fimbriae. We describe the molecular mechanism underpinning flagella-mediated adherence to plant tissue for the food-borne pathogen, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli. E. coli H7 flagella interacted with a sulphated carbohydrate (carrageenan) on a glycan array, which occurred in a dose-dependent manner. Adherence of E. coli O157:H- expressing flagella of serotype H7, H6 or H48 to plants associated with outbreaks from fresh produce and to Arabidopsis thaliana, was dependent on flagella interactions with phospholipids and sulpholipids in plasma membranes. Adherence of purified H7 and H48 flagella to carrageenan was reduced at higher concentrations of KH2 PO4 or KCl, showing an ionic basis to the interactions. Purified H7 flagella were observed to physically interact with plasma membranes in spinach plants and in A. thaliana. The results show a specific interaction between E. coli H7, H6 and H48 flagella and ionic lipids in plant plasma membranes. The work extends our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning E. coli flagella targeting of plant hosts and suggests a generic mechanism of recognition common in eukaryotic hosts belonging to different biological kingdoms.
    Environmental Microbiology 10/2013; · 6.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lytic or lysogenic infections by bacteriophages drive the evolution of enteric bacteria. Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) have recently emerged as a significant zoonotic infection of humans with the main serotypes carried by ruminants. Typical EHEC strains are defined by the expression of a type III secretion (T3S) system, the production of Shiga toxins (Stx) and association with specific clinical symptoms. The genes for Stx are present on lambdoid bacteriophages integrated into the E. coli genome. Phage type (PT) 21/28 is the most prevalent strain type linked with human EHEC infections in the United Kingdom and is more likely to be associated with cattle shedding high levels of the organism than PT32 strains. In this study we have demonstrated that the majority (90%) of PT 21/28 strains contain both Stx2 and Stx2c phages, irrespective of source. This is in contrast to PT 32 strains for which only a minority of strains contain both Stx2 and 2c phages (28%). PT21/28 strains had a lower median level of T3S compared to PT32 strains and so the relationship between Stx phage lysogeny and T3S was investigated. Deletion of Stx2 phages from EHEC strains increased the level of T3S whereas lysogeny decreased T3S. This regulation was confirmed in an E. coli K12 background transduced with a marked Stx2 phage followed by measurement of a T3S reporter controlled by induced levels of the LEE-encoded regulator (Ler). The presence of an integrated Stx2 phage was shown to repress Ler induction of LEE1 and this regulation involved the CII phage regulator. This repression could be relieved by ectopic expression of a cognate CI regulator. A model is proposed in which Stx2-encoding bacteriophages regulate T3S to co-ordinate epithelial cell colonisation that is promoted by Stx and secreted effector proteins.
    PLoS Pathogens 05/2012; 8(5):e1002672. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Type III secretion (T3S) systems enable the injection of bacterial proteins through membrane barriers into host cells, either from outside the host cell or from within a vacuole. This system is required for colonization of their ruminant reservoir hosts by enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and might also be important for the etiology of disease in the incidental human host. T3S systems of E. coli inject a cocktail of proteins into epithelial cells that enables bacterial attachment and promotes longer-term colonization in the animal. Here, we review recent progress in our understanding of the regulation of T3S in EHEC, focusing on the induction and assembly of the T3S system, the co-ordination of effector protein expression, and the timing of effector protein export through the apparatus. Strain variation is often associated with differences in bacteriophages encoding the production of Shiga toxin and in multiple cryptic prophage elements that can encode effector proteins and T3S regulators. It is evident that this repertoire of phage-related sequences results in the different levels of T3S demonstrated between strains, with implications for EHEC epidemiology and strain evolution.
    Trends in Microbiology 09/2009; 17(8):361-70. · 8.43 Impact Factor