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J Bacteriol. 2012 Jan;194(2):395-405. doi: 10.1128/JB.06225-11. Epub 2011 Nov 11.

Genome sequences and phylogenetic analysis of K88- and F18-positive porcine enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli.

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Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.


Porcine enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) continues to result in major morbidity and mortality in the swine industry via postweaning diarrhea. The key virulence factors of ETEC strains, their serotypes, and their fimbrial components have been well studied. However, most studies to date have focused on plasmid-encoded traits related to colonization and toxin production, and the chromosomal backgrounds of these strains have been largely understudied. Here, we generated the genomic sequences of K88-positive and F18-positive porcine ETEC strains and examined the phylogenetic distribution of clinical porcine ETEC strains and their plasmid-associated genetic content. The genomes of porcine ETEC strains UMNK88 and UMNF18 were both found to contain remarkable plasmid complements containing known virulence factors, potential novel virulence factors, and antimicrobial resistance-associated elements. The chromosomes of these strains also possessed several unique genomic islands containing hypothetical genes with similarity to classical virulence factors, although phage-associated genomic islands dominated the accessory genomes of these strains. Phylogenetic analysis of 78 clinical isolates associated with neonatal and porcine diarrhea revealed that a limited subset of porcine ETEC lineages exist that generally contain common toxin and fimbrial profiles, with many of the isolates belonging to the ST10, ST23, and ST169 multilocus sequencing types. These lineages were generally distinct from existing human ETEC database isolates. Overall, most porcine ETEC strains appear to have emerged from a limited subset of E. coli lineages that either have an increased propensity to carry plasmid-encoded virulence factors or have the appropriate ETEC core genome required for virulence.

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