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Avian Dis. 2000 Jan-Mar;44(1):23-33.

Complement resistance-related traits among Escherichia coli isolates from apparently healthy birds and birds with colibacillosis.

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Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo 58105, USA.


In this study, 294 Escherichia coli isolates from birds with colibacillosis were collected from disease outbreaks throughout the United States and were compared with 75 fecal E. coli isolates of apparently healthy chickens by their possession of several purported virulence genes, resistance to rough-lipopolysaccharide-specific bacteriophages (rLPSr), and elaboration of capsule. Traits were selected for study on the basis of their association with complement resistance. The genes targeted in this study included those encoding colicin V (cvaC) and the outer membrane proteins TraT (traT), OmpA (ompA), and Iss (iss). No significant differences were found between the two groups of isolates in the occurrence of cvaC-, traT-, or ompA-homologous sequences or in rLPSr. Only a few isolates were encapsulated, and the isolates of healthy birds were significantly more likely to be encapsulated than were the isolates of sick birds. However, iss, whether detected through hybridization or amplification, was found in more of the disease-associated isolates than in those of healthy birds. This difference was highly significant. Further, iss sequences were widely distributed among isolates of different serotypes from various avian host species and sites within these hosts. Such results suggest that possession of the iss sequence by an avian E. coli isolate may be a good indicator of that isolate's potential to cause disease. This association warrants further study because iss and the protein it encodes may be useful targets of future colibacillosis control efforts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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