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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2010 Nov;312(1):15-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2010.02098.x. Epub 2010 Sep 10.

Exploring the response of Escherichia coli O157:H7 EDL933 within Acanthamoeba castellanii by genome-wide transcriptional profiling.

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1
Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine, Interdepartmental Microbiology Program, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.

Abstract

Free-living protozoa, such as Acanthamoeba castellanii, are environmental hosts for pathogenic bacteria. Protozoa have been implicated in harboring pathogenic bacteria and enhancing virulence factors and antibiotic resistance. To better understand this relationship with Escherichia coli O157:H7, we characterized its transcriptome within A. castellanii compared with broth-grown organisms using two-color microarrays. Statistical analysis indicated that 969 genes were differentially expressed at P<0.018, with a false discovery rate of 1.9% and a fold change cutoff of 1.3 or greater. There were 655 upregulated transcripts that include 40 genes associated with virulence, of which 32 are encoded on O-islands, and include shiga toxin genes (stx1A, stx1B stx2A) and 14 genes involved in Type III secretion system components. Also included are SOS response genes such as lexA and recA, genes involved in or predicted to be involved in antibiotic resistance (rarD, macAB, marABR, mdtK, yojI, yhgN), the quorum-sensing operon lsrACDB, and the efe and feo iron-acquisition systems. There were 314 downregulated transcripts that included 19 transcripts associated with virulence, seven of which are encoded on O-islands. Our results demonstrate that a significant portion of the E. coli O157:H7 genome was differentially expressed as a result of the protozoan intracellular environment.

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