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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Molecular Characterization of Foodborne Pathogens Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383389

Research Project: Molecular Characterization of Foodborne Pathogen Responses to Stress

Location: Molecular Characterization of Foodborne Pathogens Research

Title: Integration of transcriptomic and proteomic approaches unveils the molecular mechanism of membrane disintegration in Escherichia coli O157:H7 with ultrasonic field treatment

item HE, QIAO - Zheijiang University
item Liu, Yanhong
item LIU, DONGHONG - Zheijiang University
item GUO, MINGMING - Zheijiang University

Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/21/2021
Publication Date: 6/7/2021
Publication URL:
Citation: He, Q., Liu, Y., Liu, D., Guo, M. 2021. Integration of transcriptomic and proteomic approaches unveils the molecular mechanism of membrane disintegration in Escherichia coli O157:H7 with ultrasonic field treatment. Science of the Total Environment.

Interpretive Summary: Escherichia coli O157:H7 is one of the leading causes of foodborne outbreaks. Ultrasound treatment is a useful technique that has been used to control this pathogen in food; however, the mechanism of how ultrasound can inactivate this bacterial pathogen is not well understood at the molecular level. In this investigation, molecular techniques were used to investigate the effect of ultrasound on E. coli O157:H7 at the genomic (genes) and proteomic (proteins) levels. The expression levels of a number of genes and proteins were altered after ultrasound treatment, demonstrating which cell processes were affected by treatment. In addition, results from electron microscopy showed that the bacterial membranes were destroyed by ultrasound treatment. This study contributes to the understanding of ultrasonic inactivation of bacterial pathogens at the molecular level, and the information will aid in the design of improved strategies to control E. coli O157:H7 in food.

Technical Abstract: The antimicrobial effect of ultrasound against pathogens has been studied for years at the phenotypic level, while the understanding of the molecular inactivation mechanism is still not clear. Here, the responses of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to ultrasound treatment were investigated using RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) and tandem mass tags (TMT)-based quantitative proteomics methods. The analyses revealed that 770 genes and 201 proteins were significantly changed upon ultrasound treatment. Moreover, the integrated transcriptomic and proteomic analyses uncovered a set of 59 genes or proteins that were differentially expressed in ultrasound-treated cells, providing an overview of the cellular responses to ultrasonic field. According to the bioinformatic analyses, genes and proteins that may be involved in lipid asymmetry preservation and outer membrane homeostasis maintenance (including phospholipid metabolism, lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis and transport, and fatty acid included) was one of the main challenges for the bacteria upon ultrasonic stress. In this study, we propose a novel mechanism regarding the ultrasound-induced membrane disintegration from a multi-omics perspective, which may present an important step toward deciphering the molecular inactivation mechanism of ultrasonic field and provide a theoretical foundation for the application of ultrasound technology for the control of foodborne pathogens.