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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2004 Fall;1(3):160-5.

Detection of a novel virulence gene and a Salmonella virulence homologue among Escherichia coli isolated from broiler chickens.

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Poultry Diagnostic Research Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.


Despite the diversity of Escherichia coli pathotypes, there are many virulence genes common to isolates from food animals and humans, suggesting that opportunity exists for genetic exchange between human and animal isolates to create the next emerging, foodborne pathogen. Hemolytic activity in E. coli has been attributed to hemolysin genes found in either uropathogenic or enterohemorrhagic E. coli. These E. coli hemolysins are classified as RTX toxins due to a repetitive toxin domain and similar gene organization, sequence homology, and mechanism of action and presence in animal and human E. coli isolates. Certain hemolytic animal isolates, however, lack these E. coli hemolysin genes. Recently, we identified a hemolysin from E. coli, isolated from poultry, with significant homology to the K12 "silent" hemolysin gene she. This gene was present only in one of four hemolytic, avian E. coli isolates examined, suggesting that the other three E. coli contain a gene distinct from the RTX toxin genes, hlyA and the she homolog, hlyE. A phagemid library was made from chicken E. coli isolate 963726, which was negative for hemolysin gene hlyA and hlyE. A hemolytic clone was identified from this library, which contained a 3.3-kb Sau3A DNA insert. The nucleotide sequences of this DNA insert revealed two, open reading frames (ORF). The first ORF encoded for a 40-Kdal protein with no significant homology to known hemolysins reported in the Gen- Bank DNA/Protein database. The second ORF specified a 26-Kdal protein with significant homology to a Salmonella regulatory gene mig-14 that had a broad distribution among the pathogenic, animal E. coli isolates. Deletion of the second orf did not abrogate hemolysis, indicating that the first ORF encoded the hemolysin. This new bacterial gene designated hlyF represents a new class of hemolysin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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