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Infect Immun. 2014 May;82(5):1931-8. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01435-13. Epub 2014 Feb 24.

Escherichia coli pathotypes occupy distinct niches in the mouse intestine.

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Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA.


Since the first step of the infection process is colonization of the host, it is important to understand how Escherichia coli pathogens successfully colonize the intestine. We previously showed that enterohemorrhagic O157:H7 strain E. coli EDL933 colonizes a niche in the streptomycin-treated mouse intestine that is distinct from that of human commensal strains, which explains how E. coli EDL933 overcomes colonization resistance imparted by some, but not all, commensal E. coli strains. Here we sought to determine if other E. coli pathogens use a similar strategy. We found that uropathogenic E. coli CFT073 and enteropathogenic E. coli E2348/69 occupy intestinal niches that are distinct from that of E. coli EDL933. In contrast, two enterohemorrhagic strains, E. coli EDL933 and E. coli Sakai, occupy the same niche, suggesting that strategies to prevent colonization by a given pathotype should be effective against other strains of the same pathotype. However, we found that a combination of commensal E. coli strains that can prevent colonization by E. coli EDL933 did not prevent colonization by E. coli CFT073 or E. coli E2348/69. Our results indicate that development of probiotics to target multiple E. coli pathotypes will be problematic, as the factors that govern niche occupation and hence stable colonization vary significantly among strains.

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