Postgenomics characterization of an essential genetic determinant of mammary pathogenic Escherichia coli

Blum, S. E. et al. (2018) Postgenomics characterization of an essential genetic determinant of mammary pathogenic Escherichia coli. mBio, 9(2), e00423-18. (doi: 10.1128/mBio.00423-18) (PMID:29615502) (PMCID:PMC5885034)

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Escherichia coli are major bacterial pathogens causing bovine mastitis, a disease of great economic impact on dairy production worldwide. This work aimed to study the virulence determinants of mammary pathogenic E. coli (MPEC). By whole-genome sequencing analysis of 40 MPEC and 22 environmental (“dairy-farm” E. coli [DFEC]) strains, we found that only the fec locus (fecIRABCDE) for ferric dicitrate uptake was present in the core genome of MPEC and that it was absent in DFEC genomes (P < 0.05). Expression of the FecA receptor in the outer membrane was shown to be citrate dependent by mass spectrometry. FecA was overexpressed when bacteria were grown in milk. Transcription of the fecA gene and of the inner membrane transport component fecB gene was upregulated in bacteria recovered from experimental intramammary infection. The presence of the fec system was shown to affect the ability of E. coli to grow in milk. While the rate of growth in milk of fec-positive (fec+) DFEC was similar to that of MPEC, it was significantly lower in DFEC lacking fec. Furthermore, deletion of fec reduced the rate of growth in milk of MPEC strain P4, whereas fec-transformed non-mammary gland-pathogenic DFEC strain K71 gained the phenotype of the level of growth in milk observed in MPEC. The role of fec in E. coli intramammary pathogenicity was investigated in vivo in cows, with results showing that an MPEC P4 mutant lacking fec lost its ability to induce mastitis, whereas the fec+ DFEC K71 mutant was able to trigger intramammary inflammation. For the first time, a single molecular locus was shown to be crucial in MPEC system.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Escherichia coli, bovine, ferric citrate, mammary gland, mastitis, milk, pathogenesis, whole-genome sequencing
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Connolly, Dr James and Kerr, Mrs Erin and Roe, Professor Andrew
Authors: Blum, S. E., Goldstone, R. J., Connolly, J. P.R., Répérant-Ferter, M., Germon, P., Inglis, N. F., Krifucks, O., Mathur, S., Manson, E., Mclean, K., Rainard, P., Roe, A. J., Leitner, G., and Smith, D. G.E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
Journal Name:mBio
Publisher:American Society for Microbiology
ISSN (Online):2150-7511
Published Online:03 April 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Blum et al.
First Published:First published in mBio 9(2):e00423-18
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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