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Infect Immun. 2018 Dec 19;87(1). pii: e00254-18. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00254-18. Print 2019 Jan.

The Evasive Enemy: Insights into the Virulence and Epidemiology of the Emerging Attaching and Effacing Pathogen Escherichia albertii.

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Department of Biology, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Department of Biology, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Department of Neuroscience, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.


The diarrheic attaching and effacing (A/E) pathogen Escherichia albertii was first isolated from infants in Bangladesh in 1991, although the bacterium was initially classified as Hafnia alvei Subsequent genetic and biochemical interrogation of these isolates raised concerns about their initial taxonomic placement. It was not until 2003 that these isolates were reassigned to the novel taxon Escherichia albertii because they were genetically more closely related to E. coli, although they had diverged sufficiently to warrant a novel species name. Unfortunately, new isolates continue to be mistyped as enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) or enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) owing to shared traits, most notably the ability to form A/E lesions. Consequently, E. albertii remains an underappreciated A/E pathogen, despite multiple reports demonstrating that many provisional EPEC and EHEC isolates incriminated in disease outbreaks are actually E. albertii Metagenomic studies on dozens of E. albertii isolates reveal a genetic architecture that boasts an arsenal of candidate virulence factors to rival that of its better-characterized cousins, EPEC and EHEC. Beyond these computational comparisons, studies addressing the regulation, structure, function, and mechanism of action of its repertoire of virulence factors are lacking. Thus, the paucity of knowledge about the epidemiology, virulence, and antibiotic resistance of E. albertii, coupled with its misclassification and its ability to develop multidrug resistance in a single step, highlights the challenges in combating this emerging pathogen. This review seeks to synthesize our current but incomplete understanding of the biology of E. albertii.


Escherichia albertii ; biochemical markers; genetic markers; locus of enterocyte effacement; multidrug resistance; virulence

[Available on 2019-06-19]

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