Molecular Profiling of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli and Enteropathogenic E. coli Strains Isolated from French Coastal Environments
Balière, C., Rincé, A., Delannoy, S., Fach, P., Gourmelon, M.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) strains may be responsible for food-borne infections in humans. Twenty-eight STEC and 75 EPEC strains previously isolated from French shellfish-harvesting areas and their watersheds and belonging to 68 distinguishable serotypes were characterized in this study. High-throughput real-time PCR was used to search for the presence of 75 E. coli virulence-associated gene targets, and genes encoding Shiga toxin (stx) and intimin (eae) were subtyped using PCR tests and DNA sequencing, respectively. The results showed a high level of diversity between strains, with 17 unique virulence gene profiles for STEC and 56 for EPEC. Seven STEC and 15 EPEC strains were found to display a large number or a particular combination of genetic markers of virulence and the presence of stx and/or eae variants, suggesting their potential pathogenicity for humans. Among these, an O26:H11 stx1a eae-β1 strain was associated with a large number of virulence-associated genes (n = 47), including genes carried on the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) or other pathogenicity islands, such as OI-122, OI-71, OI-43/48, OI-50, OI-57, and the high-pathogenicity island (HPI). One O91:H21 STEC strain containing 4 stx variants (stx1a, stx2a, stx2c, and stx2d) was found to possess genes associated with pathogenicity islands OI-122, OI-43/48, and OI-15. Among EPEC strains harboring a large number of virulence genes (n, 34 to 50), eight belonged to serotype O26:H11, O103:H2, O103:H25, O145:H28, O157:H7, or O153:H2.
The species E. coli includes a wide variety of strains, some of which may be responsible for severe infections. This study, a molecular risk assessment study of E. coli strains isolated from the coastal environment, was conducted to evaluate the potential risk for shellfish consumers. This report describes the characterization of virulence gene profiles and stx/eae polymorphisms of E. coli isolates and clearly highlights the finding that the majority of strains isolated from coastal environment are potentially weakly pathogenic, while some are likely to be more pathogenic.
Balière, C., Rincé, A., Delannoy, S., Fach, P., Gourmelon, M. "Molecular Profiling of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli and Enteropathogenic E. coli Strains Isolated from French Coastal Environments" Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2016): 3,913–27