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Genetic Diversity among Escherichia coli O157:H7 Isolates and Identification of Genes Linked to Human Infections▿ †

By Guanghui Wu, Ben Carter, Muriel Mafura, Ernesto Liebana, Martin J. Woodward and Muna F. Anjum


An Escherichia coli oligonucleotide microarray based on three sequenced genomes was validated for comparative genomic microarray hybridization and used to study the diversity of E. coli O157 isolates from human infections and food and animal sources. Among 26 test strains, 24 (including both Shiga toxin [Stx]-positive and -negative strains) were found to be related to the two sequenced E. coli O157:H7 strains, EDL933 and Sakai. However, these strains showed much greater genetic diversity than those reported previously, and most of them could not be categorized as either lineage I or II. Some genes were found more often in isolates from human than from nonhuman sources; e.g., ECs1202 and ECs2976, associated with stx2AB and stx1AB, were in all isolates from human sources but in only 40% of those from nonhuman sources. Some (but not all) lineage I-specific or -dominant genes were also more frequently associated with isolates from human. The results suggested that it might be more effective to concentrate our efforts on finding markers that are directly related to infection rather than those specific to certain lineages. In addition, two Stx-negative O157 cattle isolates (one confirmed to be H7) were significantly different from other Stx-positive and -negative E. coli O157:H7 strains and were more similar to MG1655 in their gene content. This work demonstrates that not all E. coli O157:H7 strains belong to the same clonal group, and those that were similar to E. coli K-12 might be less virulent

Topics: Molecular Genomics
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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