Transcription Analysis of stx 1, marA, and eaeA Genes in Escherichia coli O157:H7 Treated with Sodium Benzoate
Abstract:Expression of the multiple antibiotic resistance (mar) operon causes increased antimicrobial resistance in bacterial pathogens. The activator of this operon, MarA, can alter expression of >60 genes in Escherichia coli K-12. However, data on the expression of virulence and resistance genes when foodborne pathogens are exposed to antimicrobial agents are lacking. This study was conducted to determine transcription of marA (mar activator), stx 1 (Shiga toxin 1), and eaeA (intimin) genes of E. coli O157:H7 EDL933 as affected by sodium benzoate. E. coli O157:H7 was grown in Luria-Bertani broth containing 0 (control) and 1% sodium benzoate at 37°C for 24 h, and total RNA was extracted. Primers were designed for hemX (209 bp; housekeeping gene), marA (261 bp), and eaeA (223 bp) genes; previously reported primers were used for stx 1. Tenfold dilutions of RNA were used in a real-time one-step reverse transcriptase PCR to determine transcription levels. All experiments were conducted in triplicate, and product detection was validated by gel electrophoresis. For marA and stx 1, real-time one-step reverse transcriptase PCR products were detected at a 1-log-greater dilution in sodium benzoate–treated cells than in control cells, although cell numbers for each were similar (7.28 and 7.57 log CFU/ml, respectively). This indicates a greater (albeit slight) level of their transcription in treated cells than in control cells. No difference in expression of eaeA was observed. HemX is a putative uroporphyrinogen III methylase. The hemX gene was expressed at the same level in control and treated cells, validating hemX as an appropriate housekeeping marker. These data indicate that stx 1 and marA genes could play a role in pathogen virulence and survival when treated with sodium benzoate, whereas eaeA expression is not altered. Understanding adaptations of E. coli O157:H7 during antimicrobial exposure is essential to better understand and implement methods to inhibit or control survival of this pathogen in foods.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Tennessee, 2605 River Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4591, USA
Publication date: July 1, 2008
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