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Authors: Figler, Hillary M and Xiaoli, Lingzi and Goswami, Kakolie and Hoffmann, Maria and Yao, Kuan and Dudley, Edward G

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a foodborne pathogen, implicated in various multi-state outbreaks. It encodes Shiga toxin on a prophage, and Shiga toxin production is linked to phage induction. An E. coli strain, designated 0.1229, was identified that amplified Stx2a production when co-cultured with E. coli O157:H7 strain PA2. Growth of PA2 in 0.1229 cell-free supernatants had a similar effect, even when supernatants were heated to 100°C for 10 min, but not after treatment with Proteinase K. The secreted molecule was shown to use TolC for export and the TonB system for import. The genes sufficient for production of this molecule were localized to a 5.2 kb region of a 12.8 kb plasmid. This region was annotated, identifying hypothetical proteins, a predicted ABC transporter, and a cupin superfamily protein. These genes were identified and shown to be functional in two other E. coli strains, and bioinformatic analyses identified related gene clusters in similar and distinct bacterial species. These data collectively suggest E. coli 0.1229 and other E. coli produce a microcin that induces the SOS response in target bacteria. Besides adding to the limited number of microcins known to be produced by E. coli, this study provides an additional mechanism by which stx2a expression is increased in response to the gut microflora.

Journal: BioRxiv
DOI: 10.1101/646182
Year: 2019

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