[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CS31A, a K88-related surface antigen specified by the clp operon, is a member of the type P family of adhesive factors and plays a key role in the establishment of disease caused by septicaemic and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli strains. Its expression is under the control of methylation-dependent transcriptional regulation for which the leucine-responsive regulatory protein (Lrp) is essential. CS31A is preferentially in the OFF state and exhibits distinct regulatory features compared to other P family members. In the present study, Surface Plasmon Resonance and DNAse I protection assays showed that Lrp binds to the distal moiety of the clp regulatory region with low micromolar affinity, as compared to the proximal moiety that exhibits stronger nanomolar affinity. Complex formation was also influenced by the addition of PapI or FooI, which increased the affinity of Lrp for the clp distal and proximal regions, and was required to induce phase variation. The influence of PapI or FooI, however, was predominantly associated with more of a complete shutdown of clp expression, in contrast to what has previously been observed with AfaF (a PapI ortholog). Taken together, this suggests that the preferential OFF state observed in CS31A cells is mainly due to the weak interaction of the leucine-responsive regulatory protein with the clp distal region and PapI homolog favors the OFF phase. Within the large repertoire of fimbrial variants in the P family, our study illustrates that having a fimbrial operon that lacks its own PapI ortholog makes it more flexibly regulated by other orthologs in the cell.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial pathogens, including those of humans, animals, and plants, encounter phosphate (Pi)-limiting or Pi-rich environments in the host, depending on the site of infection. The environmental Pi-concentration results in modulation of expression of the Pho regulon that allows bacteria to regulate phosphate assimilation pathways accordingly. In many cases, modulation of Pho regulon expression also results in concomitant changes in virulence phenotypes. Under Pi-limiting conditions, bacteria use the transcriptional-response regulator PhoB to translate the Pi starvation signal sensed by the bacterium into gene activation or repression. This regulator is employed not only for the maintenance of bacterial Pi homeostasis but also to differentially regulate virulence. The Pho regulon is therefore not only a regulatory circuit of phosphate homeostasis but also plays an important adaptive role in stress response and bacterial virulence. Here we focus on recent findings regarding the mechanisms of gene regulation that underlie the virulence responses to Pi stress in Vibrio cholerae, Pseudomonas spp., and pathogenic E. coli.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A customized DNA microarray was designed to detect Escherichia coli virulence genes in addition to Gram-negative genes conferring resistance to antimicrobials belonging to the aminoglycoside, β-lactam, tetracycline, sulfonamide, phenicol, and quinolone families as well as to rifampin, erythromycin, trimethoprim, olaquindox, quaternary ammonium compound resistant determinant genes, and mobile genetic elements such as class 1, 2, 3 integrons and transposon Tn21. This microarray was applied in the genotyping of two collection strains coming from colibacillosis outbreaks in rabbit and cattle facilities located in Italy and Iran, respectively.
For each collection, the positive gene distribution and frequency per encoded enzyme or protein involved in antimicrobial resistance was first determined. Thereafter, strains positive for integrons were matched with the presence of transposon Tn21 (tnpM gene) in order to highlight the genetic potential of resistance (multi-resistance) transferability in the examined strains.
Fourteen of 26 strains in our rabbit E. coli collection were positive for a class 1 integron, six of which were associated with the tnpM gene and multidrug resistance-related genes to the aminoglycoside, tetracycline, and sulfonamide-trimethoprim antimicrobial families, prevalently.
Class 1 and/or class 2 and 3 integrons were also detected in 23 out of 51 strains in our cattle E. coli collection, 13 of which were also positive for tnpM gene. The presence of multiple drug resistance involving the aminoglycoside, tetracycline, and sulfonamide antimicrobial families are positively associated with this tnpM gene group. Moreover, strains having positive genes for integrons and transposons were also carriers, to a lesser extent, of class A and/or class C β-lactamase (11 strains) and quinolone (9 strains) resistant genes. The DNA microarray used in this chapter has proven to be a powerful tool in determining the genetic profile of antimicrobial resistance in E. coli field strains. The DNA microarray technology may be an appropriate technology for inclusion in antimicrobial resistance monitoring programs because of its adaptability to and ease of data collection for any particular monitoring program. Furthermore, this technology could be used to assess the effectiveness of antimicrobial use-reduction plans or in comparative studies between traditional and antibiotic-free animal production systems.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Escherichia coli is a heterogeneous species that can be part of the normal flora of humans but also include strains of medical importance. Among pathogenic members, Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) are some of the more prominent pathogenic E. coli within the public sphere. STEC disease outbreaks are typically associated with contaminated beef, contaminated drinking water, and contaminated fresh produce. These water- and food-borne pathogens usually colonize cattle asymptomatically; cows will shed STEC in their feces and the subsequent fecal contamination of the environment and processing plants is a major concern for food and public safety. This is especially important because STEC can survive for prolonged periods of time outside its host in environments such as water, produce, and farm soil. Biofilms are hypothesized to be important for survival in the environment especially on produce, in rivers, and in processing plants. Several factors involved in biofilm formation such as curli, cellulose, poly-N-acetyl glucosamine, and colanic acid are involved in plant colonization and adherence to different surfaces often found in meat processing plants. In food processing plants, contamination of beef carcasses occurs at different stages of processing and this is often caused by the formation of STEC biofilms on the surface of several pieces of equipment associated with slaughtering and processing. Biofilms protect bacteria against several challenges, including biocides used in industrial processes. STEC biofilms are less sensitive than planktonic cells to several chemical sanitizers such as quaternary ammonium compounds, peroxyacetic acid, and chlorine compounds. Increased resistance to sanitizers by STEC growing in a biofilm is likely to be a source of contamination in the processing plant. This review focuses on the role of biofilm formation by STEC as a means of persistence outside their animal host and factors associated with biofilm formation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression of genes of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) is essential for adherence of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) to intestinal epithelial cells. Gut factors that may modulate LEE gene expression may therefore influence the outcome of the infection. Because nitric oxide (NO) is a critical effector of the intestinal immune response that may induce transcriptional regulation in enterobacteria, we investigated its influence on LEE expression in EHEC O157:H7. We demonstrate that NO inhibits the expression of genes belonging to LEE1, LEE4, and LEE5 operons, and that the NO sensor nitrite-sensitive repressor (NsrR) is a positive regulator of these operons by interacting directly with the RNA polymerase complex. In the presence of NO, NsrR detaches from the LEE1/4/5 promoter regions and does not activate transcription. In parallel, two regulators of the acid resistance pathway, GadE and GadX, are induced by NO through an indirect NsrR-dependent mechanism. In this context, we show that the NO-dependent LEE1 down-regulation is due to absence of NsrR-mediated activation and to the repressor effect of GadX. Moreover, the inhibition of expression of LEE4 and LEE5 by NO is due to loss of NsrR-mediated activation, to LEE1 down-regulation and to GadE up-regulation. Lastly, we establish that chemical or cellular sources of NO inhibit the adherence of EHEC to human intestinal epithelial cells. These results highlight the critical effect of NsrR in the regulation of the LEE pathogenicity island and the potential role of NO in the limitation of colonization by EHEC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) are responsible for outbreaks of food- and water-borne illness. The bovine gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is thought to be the principle reservoir of EHEC. Knowledge of the nutrients essential for EHEC growth and survival in the bovine intestine may help in developing strategies to limit their shedding in bovine faeces thus reducing the risk of human illnesses. To identify specific metabolic pathways induced in the animal GIT, the transcriptome profiles of EHEC O157:H7 EDL933 during incubation in bovine small intestine contents (BSIC) and minimal medium supplemented with glucose were compared. The transcriptome analysis revealed that genes responsible for the assimilation of ethanolamine, urea, agmatine and amino acids (Asp, Thr, Gly, Ser and Trp) were strongly up-regulated suggesting that these compounds are the main nitrogen sources for EHEC in BSIC. A central role for the gluconeogenesis pathway and assimilation of gluconeogenic substrates was also pinpointed in EHEC incubated in BSIC. Our results suggested that three amino acids (Asp, Ser and Trp), glycerol, glycerol 3-phosphate, L-lactate and C4-dicarboxylates are important carbon sources for EHEC in BSIC. The ability to use gluconeogenic substrates as nitrogen sources (amino acids) and/or carbon sources (amino acids, glycerol and lactate) may provide a growth advantage to the bacteria in intestinal fluids. Accordingly, aspartate (2.4 mM), serine (1.9 mM), glycerol (5.8 mM) and lactate (3.6 mM) were present in BSIC and may represent the main gluconeogenic substrates potentially used by EHEC. A double mutant of E. coli EDL933 defective for phosphoenolpyruvate synthase (PpsA) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PckA), unable to utilize tricarboxylic acid (TCA) intermediates was constructed. Growth competition experiments between EHEC EDL933 and the isogenic mutant strain in BSIC clearly showed a significant competitive growth advantage of the wild-type strain further illustrating the importance of the gluconeogenesis pathway in maintaining EHEC in the bovine GIT.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(6):e98367. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To better understand E. coli O157:H7 on-farm transmission dynamics requires sensitive methods for quantification of a broad range of concentrations of target organisms. For this purpose, a multiplex real time PCR (qPCR) assay was developed for quantification of O157 E. coli from one gm fecal samples of cattle and other animal species, targeting the Shiga toxin genes (stx1 and stx2) and the O157 somatic antigen gene, per. The multiplex qPCR assay provided specific detection across a broad range of bacterial concentrations with a lower limit of detection (LOD) of 101 genome copies which is equivalent to 101 bacteria. However, the LOD, when direct qPCR was applied to quantification of the targets in the feces of dairy cattle, was 103 genome copies per gram of feces. Enumeration below the threshold for direct qPCR was performed using a modified Most Probable Numbers (mMPN) method whereby E. coli O157 in enriched samples was isolated using immunomagnetic bead separation (IMS) and detected using qPCR, thus reducing the time and logistic constraints of biochemical/serological/gel analysis. Application of the mMPN (IMS/qPCR) assay to samples that were negative when tested using direct qPCR alone permitted quantification of low levels of E. coli O157 below levels detectable with direct qPCR. The direct qPCR and mMPN (IMS/qPCR) assays were applied to fecal samples from dairy, beef, swine and poultry feces. This approach can be employed to gain a better understanding of the patterns of infection in animals for analysis of on-farm transmission dynamics, for evaluating the effects of on-farm control strategies and for risk assessment in public health.
Journal of microbiological methods 01/2014; · 2.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), an emerging food- and water-borne hazard, is highly pathogenic to humans. In the environment, EHEC must survive phosphate (Pi) limitation. The response to such Pi starvation is an induction of the Pho regulon including the Pst system that senses Pi variation. The interplay between the virulence of EHEC, Pho-Pst system and environmental Pi remains unknown. To understand the effects of Pi deprivation on the molecular mechanisms involved in EHEC survival and virulence under Pho regulon control, we undertook transcriptome profiling of the EDL933 wild-type strain grown under high Pi and low Pi conditions and its isogenic ΔphoB mutant grown in low Pi conditions. The differentially expressed genes included 1067 Pi-dependent genes and 603 PhoB-dependent genes. Of these 131 genes were both Pi and PhoB-dependent. Differentially expressed genes that were selected included those involved in Pi homeostasis, cellular metabolism, acid stress, oxidative stress and RpoS-dependent stress responses. Differentially expressed virulence systems included the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) encoding the type-3 secretion system (T3SS) and its effectors, as well as BP-933W prophage encoded Shiga toxin 2 genes. Moreover, PhoB directly regulated LEE and stx2 gene expression through binding to specific Pho boxes. However, in Pi-rich medium, constitutive activation of the Pho regulon decreased LEE gene expression and reduced adherence to HeLa cells. Together, these findings reveal that EHEC has evolved a sophisticated response to Pi limitation involving multiple biochemical strategies that contribute to its ability to respond to variations in environmental Pi and to coordinating the virulence response.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(4):e94285. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) are zoonotic pathogens transmitted to humans through contaminated water or bovine products. One of the strategies used by pathogenic bacteria to survive in aquatic environments is by using free-living amoebae as hosts. Acanthamoeba castellanii is an amoeba known to host several water-borne pathogens. This study investigates the survival of EHEC with A. castellanii, which could contribute to its spread and transmission to humans. We used a gentamicin protection assay as well as fluorescence and electron microscopy to monitor the intra-amoebae survival of EHEC O157:H7 over 24 hours. The results showed that EHEC were able to survive within A. castellanii and that this survival was reduced by Shiga-toxins (Stx) produced by EHEC. A toxic effect mediated by Stx was demonstrated by amoebae mortality and LDH release during co-culture of EHEC and amoeba. This work describes the ability of EHEC to survive within A. castellanii and this host-pathogen interaction is partially controlled by the Stx. Thus, this ubiquitous amoeba could represent an environmental niche for EHEC survival and transmission. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study identified and characterized EPEC in the Canadian food supply. Eighteen of 450 E. coli isolates from food animal sources were identified as aEPEC. Several aEPEC isolates possessed multiple virulence genes, exhibited adherence and A/E lesion formation, disrupted tight junctions, and were co-classified with the ExPEC and ETEC pathotypes.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 04/2013; · 3.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Campylobacter jejuni is an important worldwide foodborne pathogen commonly found as a commensal organism in poultry that can reach high numbers within the gut after colonization. Although information regarding some genes involved in colonization is available, little is known about their distribution in strains isolated specifically from chickens and whether there is a linkage between antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and colonization genes. To assess the distribution and relevance of genes associated with chicken colonization and AMR, a C. jejuni microarray was created to detect 254 genes of interest in colonization and AMR including variants. DNA derived from chicken-specific Campylobacter isolates collected in 2003 (n=29) and 2008 (n=28) was hybridized to the microarray and compared. Hybridization results showed variable colonization-associated gene presence. Acquired AMR genes were low in prevalence whereas chemotaxis receptors, arsenic resistance genes, as well as genes from the cell envelope and flagella functional groups were highly variable in their presence. Strains clustered into two groups, each linked to different control strains, 81116 and NCTC11168. Clustering was found to be independent of collection time. We also show that AMR weakly associated with the CJ0628 and arsR genes. Although other studies have implicated numerous genes associated with C. jejuni chicken colonization, our data on chicken-specific isolates suggest the opposite. The enormous variability in presumed colonization gene prevalence in our chicken isolates suggests that many are of lesser importance than previously thought. Alternatively, this also suggests that combinations of genes may be required for natural colonization of chicken intestines.
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 03/2013; · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7 is a foodborne pathogen that resists the acidic gastric environment, colonizes the gut epithelium, and causes hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic–uremic syndrome, especially in children. The genomic island OI-47 of E. coli O157:H7 contains a gene, z1528, encoding an EAL-domain protein potentially involved in c-di-GMP hydrolysis that is absent in non-pathogenic E. coli. This gene, designated vmpA, is co-transcribed with ycdT, which is present in non pathogenic E. coli and encodes a diguanylate cyclase involved in c-di-GMP synthesis. To test for vmpA function, we constructed a vmpA knockout mutant. We also overexpressed vmpA, purified the VmpA protein and assayed for its activity in vitro. We found that VmpA possesses c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase activity and that the vmpA mutation results in increased biofilm formation, and reduced swimming motility, which is consistent with the function determined in vitro. Unexpectedly, suppressor mutations arise frequently in the vmpA background suggesting that VmpA plays an important regulatory role in E. coli O157:H7. These findings represent an example of remarkable flexibility in the organization of c-di-GMP signaling pathways in closely related species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Contamination of surface waters in developing countries is a great concern. Treated and untreated wastewaters have been discharged into rivers and streams, leading to possible waterborne infection outbreaks and may represent a significant dissemination mechanism of antibiotic resistance genes. In this study, the water quality of San Pedro River, the main river and pluvial collector of the Aguascalientes State, Mexico was assessed. Thirty sample locations were tested throughout the River. The main physicochemical parameters of water were evaluated. Results showed high levels of fecal pollution as well as inorganic and organic matter abundant enough to support the heterotrophic growth of microorganisms. These results indicate poor water quality in samples from different locations. One hundred and fifty Escherichia coli were collected and screened by PCR for several virulence genes. Isolates were classified as either pathogenic (n = 91) or commensal (n = 59). The disc diffusion method was used to determine antimicrobial susceptibility to 13 antibiotics. Fifty-two percent of the isolates were resistant to at least one antimicrobial agent and 30.6% were multi-resistant. Eighteen E. coli strains were quinolone resistant of which 16 were multi-resistant. Plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) genes were detected in 12 isolates. Mutations at the Ser-83→Leu and/or Asp-87→Asn in the gyrA gene were detected as well as mutations at the Ser-80→Ile in parC. An E. coli microarray (Maxivirulence V 3.1) was used to characterize the virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes profiles of the fluoroquinolone-resistant isolates. Antimicrobial resistance genes such as bla TEM, sulI, sulII, dhfrIX, aph3 (strA), and tet (B) as well as integrons were found in fluoroquinolone (FQ) resistance E. coli strains. The presence of potential pathogenic E. coli and antibiotic resistance in San Pedro River such as FQ resistant E. coli could pose a potential threat to human and animal health.
Frontiers in Microbiology 01/2013; 4:147. · 3.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Escherichia coli is implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Rifaximin, a non-absorbable derivative of rifampicin effective against E. coli, improves symptoms in mild-to-moderate IBD. However, rifaximin resistance can develop in a single step in vitro. We examined the prevalence and mechanisms of rifaximin resistance in 62 strains of E. coli isolated from the ileal mucosa of 50 patients (19 with ileal Crohn's disease [L1+L3], 6 with colonic Crohn's disease [L2], 13 with ulcerative colitis [UC], 4 with symptomatic non-IBD diagnoses [NI], and 8 healthy [H]). Resistance (MIC >1024 mg/L) was present in 12/48 IBD-associated ileal E.coli strains. Resistance correlated with prior rifaximin treatment (P < 0.00000001) but not with the presence of ileal inflammation (P = 0.73) or E. coli phylogroup. Mutations in a 1,057 bp region of rpoB, which encodes the bacterial target of rifaximin, were identified in 10/12 resistant strains vs. 0/50 sensitive strains (P < 0.000000001), and consisted of seven amino acid substitutions. The efflux pump inhibitor Phe-Arg-β-naphthylamide (PAβN) lowered the MIC of 9/12 resistant strains 8 to 128 fold. Resistance was stable in the absence of rifaximin in 10/12 resistant strains after 30 passages. We conclude that IBD-associated ileal E. coli frequently manifest resistance to rifaximin that correlates with prior rifaximin use, amino acid substitutions in rpoB, and activity of PAβN-inhibitable efflux pumps, but not with the presence of ileal inflammation or E. coli phylogroup. These findings have significant implications for treatment trials targeting IBD-associated E. coli.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 11/2012; · 4.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) are involved in outbreaks of food-borne illness and transmitted to humans through bovine products or water contaminated by cattle feces. Microbial interaction is one of the strategies used by pathogenic bacteria to survive in the environment. Among protozoa, the free-living amoebae are known to host and protect several water-borne pathogens. In this study, the interaction between EHEC and the predacious protozoa Acanthamoeba castellanii was investigated. Using monoculture and cocultures, growth of both organisms was estimated for 3 weeks by total and viable cell counts. The numbers of EHEC were significantly higher when cultured with amoebae than without, and less EHEC shifted into a viable but nonculturable state in the presence of amoebae. Using several mutants, we observed that the Pho regulon is required for EHEC growth when cocultured with amoebae. In contrast, the Shiga toxins (Stx) were not involved in this association phenotype. Cocultures monitored by electron microscopy revealed a loss of the regular rod shape of EHEC and the secretion of multilamellar vesicles by the amoebae, which did not contain bacteria. As the interaction between A. castellanii and EHEC appears beneficial for bacterial growth, this supports a potential role for protozoa in promoting the persistence of EHEC in the environment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The bovine gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the main reservoir for enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) responsible for food-borne infections. Characterization of nutrients preferentially used by EHEC in the bovine intestine would help to develop ecological strategies to reduce EHEC carriage. However, the carbon sources that support the growth of EHEC in the bovine intestine are poorly documented. In this study, a very low concentration of glucose, the most abundant monomer included in the cattle dietary polysaccharides, was detected in bovine small intestine contents (BSIC) collected from healthy cows at the slaughterhouse. Six carbohydrates reported to be included in the mucus layer covering the enterocytes [galactose, N-acetyl-glucosamine (GlcNAc), N-acetyl- galactosamine (GalNAc), fucose, mannose and N-acetyl neuraminic acid (Neu5Ac)] have been quantified for the first time in BSIC and accounted for a total concentration of 4.2 mM carbohydrates. The genes required for enzymatic degradation of the six mucus-derived carbohydrates are highly expressed during the exponential growth of the EHEC strain O157:H7 EDL933 in BSIC and are more strongly induced in EHEC than in bovine commensal E. coli. In addition, EDL933 consumed the free monosaccharides present in the BSIC more rapidly than the resident microbiota and commensal E. coli, indicating a competitive ability of EHEC to catabolize mucus-derived carbohydrates in the bovine gut. Mutations of EDL933 genes required for the catabolism of each of these sugars have been constructed, and growth competitions of the mutants with the wild-type strain clearly demonstrated that mannose, GlcNAc, Neu5Ac and galactose catabolism confers a high competitive growth advantage to EHEC in BSIC and probably represents an ecological niche for EHEC strains in the bovine small intestine. The utilization of these mucus-derived monosaccharides by EDL933 is apparently required for rapid growth of EHEC in BSIC, and for maintaining a competitive growth rate as compared with that of commensal E. coli. The results suggest a strategy for O157:H7 E. coli survival in the bovine intestine, whereby EHEC rapidly consumes mucus-derived carbohydrates that are poorly consumed by bacteria belonging to the resident intestinal microbiota, including commensal E. coli.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic complementation in many bacteria is commonly achieved by reintroducing functional copies of the mutated or deleted genes on a recombinant plasmid. Chromosomal integration systems using the Tn7 transposon have the advantage of providing a stable single-copy integration that does not require selective pressure. Previous Tn7 systems have been developed, although none have been shown to work effectively in a variety of enterobacteria. We have developed several mini-Tn7 and transposase vectors to provide a more versatile system. Transposition of Tn7 at the chromosomal attTn7 site was achieved by a classical conjugation approach, wherein the donor strain harbored the mini-Tn7 vector and the recipient strain possessed the transposase vector. This approach was efficient for five different pathogenic enterobacterial species. Thus, this system provides a useful tool for single-copy complementation at an episomal site for research in bacterial genetics and microbial pathogenesis. Furthermore, these vectors could also be used for the introduction of foreign genes for use in biotechnology applications, vaccine development, or gene expression and gene fusion constructs.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 06/2012; 78(17):6001-8. · 3.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pstSCAB-phoU operon encodes the phosphate-specific transport system (Pst). Loss of Pst constitutively activates the Pho regulon and decreases bacterial virulence. However, specific mechanisms underlying decreased bacterial virulence through inactivation of Pst are poorly understood. In uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) strain CFT073, inactivation of pst decreased urinary tract colonization in CBA/J mice. The pst mutant was deficient in production of type 1 fimbriae and showed decreased expression of the fimA structural gene which correlated with differential expression of the fimB, fimE, ipuA, and ipbA genes, encoding recombinases, mediating inversion of the fim promoter. The role of fim downregulation in attenuation of the pst mutant was confirmed using a fim phase-locked-on derivative, which demonstrated a significant gain in virulence. In addition, the pst mutant was less able to invade human bladder epithelial cells. Since type 1 fimbriae contribute to UPEC virulence by promoting colonization and invasion of bladder cells, the reduced bladder colonization by the pst mutant is predominantly attributed to downregulation of these fimbriae. Elucidation of mechanisms mediating the control of type 1 fimbriae through activation of the Pho regulon in UPEC may open new avenues for therapeutics or prophylactics against urinary tract infections.
Infection and immunity 06/2012; 80(8):2802-15. · 4.21 Impact Factor