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Colicinogeny among Escherichia coli Serotypes, Including O157:H7, Representing Four Closely Related Diarrheagenic Clones

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Twenty-seven diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) strains from five closely related, genetically distinct clones (DEC 3, 4, 8, 9, and 10), representing serotypes commonly associated with Shiga-like toxin production, i.e., O15:H–, O26:(H11, H–), O111:(H8, H11, H–), and O157:H7, were evaluated for colicinogeny on Luria agar or Luria agar containing 0.25 μg/ml mitomycin C to induce colicin production. Ten (37%) of the DEC strains tested were colicinogenic. One of 11 serotype O157:H7 strains, DEC strain 4E, produced a colicin identified as Col D. DEC strains 8B, 9D, and 10B produced Col E1, whereas DEC strain 10A produced Col E2. DEC strains 8A, 8E, 10C, 10E, and 10F produced "untypable" colicins that killed almost all Pugsley Colicin Reference Set strains and the other DEC strains tested. To aid with further characterization of the colicins, plasmids extracted from each colicin-producing (Col+) DEC strain were used to transform E. coli strain DH5α. All Col+ DH5α transformants contained one plasmid ranging in size from 1.3 to 10 kb. Some transformants were stable colicin producers whereas others were unstable. The inhibitory activity and colicin sensitivity and insensitivity profiles of the Col+ transformants were similar to those of the corresponding Col+ donor DEC strains. It appears that the untypable colicins are novel and, thus, warrant further study. Colicin production by some of the DEC strains evaluated partly explains why they were insensitive to standard colicins in a previous study.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA 2: E. coli Reference Center, Department of Veterinary Science, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA

Publication date: November 1, 1998

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