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J Clin Microbiol. 1991 Jun;29(6):1225-31.

Serotype O157:H7 Escherichia coli from bovine and meat sources.

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Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


Serotype O157:H7 Escherichia coli strains from several different bovine and meat (beef) sources were studied to determine the diversity of their virulence properties and to compare their plasmid characteristics. Eighteen strains from cattle feces, 2 from water buffalo feces, 3 from beef samples, and 2 from feces of human hemolytic uremic syndrome cases were examined. All of these strains hybridized with the CVD419 DNA probe which identifies serotype O157:H7 and many other serotypes of verocytotoxin-producing E. coli. Of 15 bovine strains that hybridized with two verocytotoxin DNA probes, 8 hybridized with both verocytotoxin 1 (VT1) and VT2 probes, 5 hybridized with only the VT2 probe, and 2 hybridized with only the VT1 probe. This distribution was similar to that reported for O157:H7 E. coli isolated from humans. All three beef isolates hybridized with both VT1 and VT2 probes. All strains that hybridized with the VT probes were positive in the verocytotoxin assay, and all probe-negative strains were negative in the assay. All the strains possessed large plasmids with molecular sizes ranging from 53 to 64 MDa. Fifteen of the 20 cattle and water buffalo strains had one or more additional small plasmids. Restriction patterns resulting from HindIII, SmaI, and BamHI digestions of the large plasmids were used to compare all possible pairs of five different single plasmid-bearing strains from different countries (Egypt, England, and the United States). The restriction patterns of these strains were distinct, and the mean coefficients of similarity for these comparisons ranged from 71 to 91%, indicating a moderate degree of genetic diversity. This diversity and the presence of multiple plasmids in many bovine and human O157:H7 strains reinforce the usefulness of plasmid analysis in future studies. Only four of the 20 bovine strains and 1 of the 3 beef strains possessed the capability for adherence to HEp-2 and Intestine 407 cells in the presence of mannose, indicating that in vitro expression of localized adherence is not a universal property of O157:H7 strains of bovine origin.

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