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J Clin Microbiol. 1996 Dec;34(12):2980-4.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains from bovines: association of adhesion with carriage of eae and other genes.

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Institut für Hygiene und Infektionskrankheiten, Tiere der Universität Giessen, Germany.


Out of 174 bovine Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains isolated from diarrheic calves in Germany and Belgium, 122 strains (70.1%) were selected because of their reactivity with the eae (E. coli attaching and effacing gene) probe ECW1-ECW2. One hundred seven of these eae-positive strains (87.7%) harbored stx1 genes, 13 strains (10.7%) had stx2 genes, and 2 strains (1.6%) had both stx genes. The strains displayed 17 different O types, the majority (97 strains) [79.5%]) belonging to O5 (5 strains), O26 (21 strains), O111 (13 strains) O118 (36 strains), O145 (9 strains), and O157 (13 strains). In the HEp-2 cell adhesion assay, 99 strains (81.1%) showed a localized adhesion, and 80 strains (65.6%) stimulated actin accumulation, as determined in the fluorescence actin staining test. None of the strains harbored genes coding for bundle-forming pili (bfpA), clearly differentiating them from enteropathogenic. E. cole. espB gene sequences were only detectable in 23 (18.9%) of the eae-positive bovine STEC strains. Three different PCRs were established, differentiating between eae sequences of enteropathogenic E. coli strain E2348/69 (O127:H6) and STEC strain EDL933 (O157: H7). Primers matching in the more heterologous downstream eae sequences gave amplicons in only 8 of the 17 O types (O84:H-, O103:H2, O111:H-, O111:H2, O119:H25, O128:H-, O145:H28, and O157:H-). Only 15 STEC strains, belonging to serotypes O111H:-, O111H:2, O145:H28, and O157:H-, gave amplicons in all three eae-specific PCRs. These data demonstrate that bovine STEC strains are a heterogeneous group of pathogenic bacteria, a lot of which share virulence markers with STEC strains causing infections in humans. However, in contrast to human STEC strains, bovine eae-positive STEC strains are mainly restricted to the stx1 genotype. The observation that espB sequences are not highly conserved might have consequences for the serological recognition of the ESPB protein in patients. Like in human STEC strains, eae-related sequences are closely associated with certain E. coli O groups; however, they are not serotype specific.

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