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Infect Immun. 1997 Jul; 65(7): 2606–2612.
PMCID: PMC175369

Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli protein secretion is induced in response to conditions similar to those in the gastrointestinal tract.


The pathogenicity of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is associated with the expression and secretion of specific bacterial factors. EspB is one such secreted protein which is required to trigger host signaling pathways resulting in effacement of microvilli and cytoskeletal rearrangements. These events presumably contribute to the ensuing diarrhea associated with EPEC infections. EPEC encounters several environmental changes and stimuli during its passage from the external environment into the host gastrointestinal tract. In this paper we show that the secretion of EspB is subject to environmental regulation, and maximal secretion occurs under conditions reminiscent of those in the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, secretion is maximal at 37 degrees C, pH 7, and physiological osmolarity. In addition, maximal secretion requires the presence of sodium bicarbonate and calcium and is stimulated by millimolar concentrations of Fe(NO3)3. The secretion of the four other EPEC-secreted proteins appears to be modulated in a manner similar to that of EspB. Our results also show that secretion is not dependent on CO2, as originally reported by Haigh et al. (FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 129: 63-67, 1995), but that CO2 more likely acts as a component of the medium buffering system, since CO2 dependence was abolished by the use of alternative buffers.

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Selected References

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