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Infect Immun. Nov 1996; 64(11): 4472–4479.
PMCID: PMC174400

Temperature- and medium-dependent secretion of proteins by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli.


Infections due to Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are responsible for severe diarrheal disease in humans and livestock, and these bacteria have recently emerged as a leading cause of renal failure in children. In this study, we have examined medium- and temperature-dependent production of secreted proteins from a STEC O26 serotype strain. Growth of bacteria in Luria broth led to the detection of secreted polypeptides of 104, 55, 54, and 37 kDa (p104, p55, p54, and p37, respectively). When grown in serum-free tissue culture medium, only p104, p37 and two additional polypeptides of 25 and 22 kDa (p25 and p22) were present in supernatant fluids. Production of these polypeptides was growth temperature dependent and induced in cultures grown at 37 degrees C. N-terminal amino acid sequencing revealed that p104 was homologous to the secreted p110 of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), and both proteins belong to a family of secreted proteins in pathogenic bacteria of which the immunoglobulin A protease of Neisseria gonorrhoeae is the prototype. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of p55 and p54 were unique to the STEC strain, while p37 and p25 were found to be highly homologous to the similarly sized EspA and EspB proteins, previously detected in culture supernatants of EPEC. Molecular cloning and sequencing of STEC espB alleles from two different serotypes showed that the encoded polypeptides were about 80% homologous. A monoclonal antibody raised against STEC EspB also cross-reacted with its EPEC analog and allowed us to demonstrate medium- and temperature-dependent production of this important virulence factor in STEC and EPEC strains of differing serotypes.

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Selected References

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