Title: Strain level differences in Escherichia coli transport, cell surface and adhesion characteristics Authors
Submitted to: American Society for Microbiology Branch Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 11, 2010
Publication Date: November 6, 2010
Citation: Ayers, K., Cook, K.L., Parekh, R.R., Bolster, C.H., Reynolds, D. 2010. Strain level differences in Escherichia coli transport, cell surface and adhesion characteristics. American Society for Microbiology Branch Meeting. 1:15. Technical Abstract: Given the importance of Escherichia coli as both an indicator of fecal contamination and a potential pathogen, it is imperative that genotypic and phenotypic variability among strains of E. coli from the same host and/or environmental niche are understood. Strain survival and variation are regulated by environmental conditions. Many of the same factors that are important in virulence inside a host are also important in the organism’s exposure to diverse and unpredictable environmental conditions outside of the host. The goals of this study were to: (1) determine the diversity of E.coli in manures from three livestock species and water samples from both dry and wet weather events; (2) determine the profile of virulence, transport, and adhesion genes in representative isolates; and (3) evaluate the effect of strain level differences on the attachment and transport of E. coli through porous media. Using selective plating, 1346 E. coli isolates were obtained and characterized by BOX PCR analysis of DNA extracts. Representative isolates were selected for transport studies and cell surface characterization. Our results show a large diversity in cell properties and transport behavior for the different E. coli isolates. Correlation of phenotypic behavior with genotype shows that strains with high attachment efficiencies to quartz sand grains were also uniquely possessive of adhesion genes (agn43, fimH, iha), toxins, and siderophores (hlyA, iroNE. coli). This diversity must be taken into account when making assessments of the suitability of using E. coli as an indicator organism and when modeling its movement through the environment.