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Presence of Activatable Shiga Toxin Genotype (stx(2d)) in Shiga Toxigenic Escherichia coli from Livestock Sources

By Kari S. Gobius, Glen M. Higgs and Patricia M. Desmarchelier


Stx2d is a recently described Shiga toxin whose cytotoxicity is activated 10- to 1,000-fold by the elastase present in mouse or human intestinal mucus. We examined Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) strains isolated from food and livestock sources for the presence of activatable stx(2d). The stx(2) operons of STEC were first analyzed by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis and categorized as stx(2), stx(2c vha), stx(2c vhb), or stx(2d EH250). Subsequently, the stx(2c vha) and stx(2c vhb) operons were screened for the absence of a PstI site in the stx(2A) subunit gene, a restriction site polymorphism which is a predictive indicator for the stx(2d) (activatable) genotype. Twelve STEC isolates carrying putative stx(2d) operons were identified, and nucleotide sequencing was used to confirm the identification of these operons as stx(2d). The complete nucleotide sequences of seven representative stx(2d) operons were determined. Shiga toxin expression in stx(2d) isolates was confirmed by immunoblotting. stx(2d) isolates were induced for the production of bacteriophages carrying stx. Two isolates were able to produce bacteriophages φ1662a and φ1720a carrying the stx(2d) operons. RFLP analysis of bacteriophage genomic DNA revealed that φ1662a and φ1720a were highly related to each other; however, the DNA sequences of these two stx(2d) operons were distinct. The STEC strains carrying these operons were isolated from retail ground beef. Surveillance for STEC strains expressing activatable Stx2d Shiga toxin among clinical cases may indicate the significance of this toxin subtype to human health

Topics: Bacteriology
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1128/JCM.41.8.3777-3783.2003
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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