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J Infect Dis. 2000 Dec;182(6):1780-3. Epub 2000 Oct 17.

Enteroaggregative escherichia coli virulence factors in traveler's diarrhea strains.

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Laboratori de Microbiologia, Hospital Clinic, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.


Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) is associated with diarrhea in Spanish travelers to developing countries. In this study, the polymerase chain reaction was used to test EAEC isolates for genes encoding putative virulence factors, including EAEC adhesins, the plasmid-encoded toxin (Pet), a heat-stable enterotoxin (EAST), and Shigella enterotoxins 1 and 2 (ShET1 and ShET2). Findings included a low prevalence of genes for Pet (4.3%), ShET2 (4.3%), and the adherence factor AAF/II (8.7%). The overlapping genes encoding the ShET1 and the Pic mucinase were present in most EAEC strains tested (56.5%); however, some strains that carried this locus did not produce both proteins, as determined by Western immunoblot. Surprisingly, ShET1 and ShET2 genes were also found in other E. coli pathotypes, as was the EAST toxin locus. These findings underscore the heterogeneity of EAEC strains and suggest that the ShET1 may be an important virulence factor in traveler's diarrhea.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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