Serotypes, virulence markers and cell invasion ability of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains isolated from healthy dairy cattle.J Appl Microbiol. 2016 Oct; 121(4):1130-43.JA
The occurrence of virulence markers, serotypes and invasive ability were investigated in Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) isolated from faecal samples of healthy dairy cattle at Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil.
METHODS AND RESULTS
From 1562 stx-positive faecal samples, 105 STEC strains were isolated by immuno-magnetic separation (IMS) or plating onto MacConkey agar (MC) followed by colony hybridisation. Fifty (47·6%) strains belonged to nine serotypes (O8:H19, O22:H8, O22:H16, O74:H42, O113:H21, O141:H21, O157:H7, O171:H2 and ONT:H21). The prevalent serotypes were O157:H7 (12·4%), O113:H21 (6·7%) and O8:H19 (5·7%). Virulence genes were identified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). E-hlyA (77·1%) was the more prevalent virulence marker, followed by espP (64·8%), saa (39%), eae (24·8%) and astA (21·9%). All O157:H7 strains carried the γ (gamma) variant of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) genes and the stx2c gene, while the stx1/stx2 genotype prevailed among the eae-negative strains. None of the eae-positive STEC produced the localized adherence (LA) phenotype in HEp-2 or Caco-2 cells. However, intimate attachment (judged by the fluorescent actin staining test) was detected in some eae-positive strains, both in HEp-2 (23·1%) and in Caco-2 cells (11·5%). Most strains (87·5%) showed 'peripheral association' (PA) adherence phenotype to undifferentiated Caco-2 cells. Twenty-five (92·6%) of 27 strains invaded Caco-2 cells. The highest average value of invasion (9·6%) was observed among the eae-negative bovine strains from serotypes described in human disease.
Healthy dairy cattle is a reservoir of STEC carrying virulence genes and properties associated with human disease.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY
Although reports of human disease associated with STEC are scarce in Brazil, the colonization of the animal reservoir by potentially pathogenic strains offers a significant risk to our population.