Atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli genomic background allows the acquisition of non-EPEC virulence factors

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Bando, Silvia Y.
Andrade, Fernanda B.
Guth, Beatriz E. C. [UNIFESP]
Elias Junior, Waldir Pereira [UNIFESP]
Moreira-Filho, Carlos A.
Pestana de Castro, Antonio F.
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Atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (aEPEC) has been associated with infantile diarrhea in many countries. the clonal structure of aEPEC is the object of active investigation but few works have dealt with its genetic relationship with other diarrheagenic E. coli (DEC). This study aimed to evaluate the genetic relationship of aEPEC with other DEC pathotypes. the phylogenetic relationships of DEC strains were evaluated by multilocus sequence typing. Genetic diversity was assessed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). the phylogram showed that aEPEC strains were distributed in four major phylogenetic groups (A, B1, B2 and D). Cluster I ( group B1) contains the majority of the strains and other pathotypes [enteroaggregative, enterotoxigenic and enterohemorrhagic E. coli ( EHEC)]; cluster II ( group A) also contains enteroaggregative and diffusely adherent E. coli; cluster III ( group B2) has atypical and typical EPEC possessing H6 or H34 antigen; and cluster IV ( group D) contains aEPEC O55:H7 strains and EHEC O157:H7 strains. PFGE analysis confirmed that these strains encompass a great genetic diversity. These results indicate that aEPEC clonal groups have a particular genomic background - especially the strains of phylogenetic group B1 that probably made possible the acquisition and expression of virulence factors derived from non-EPEC pathotypes.
Fems Microbiology Letters. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc, v. 299, n. 1, p. 22-30, 2009.