Presence of virulence genes and pathogenicity islands in extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli isolates from Brazil
Keywords:ExPEC, commensal Escherichia coli, virulence factors, PAI sequences, phylogenetic groups
Introduction: Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) is associated with various diseases such as urinary tract infections, neonatal meningitis and septicemia. There are many virulence factors (VF) encoded by genes in ExPEC, including papC, papG, ecpA, iroN, fyuA, iutA, ompTp, tsh, hlyF, hlyA and iss. These virulence genes may be present in pathogenicity islands (PAI) or plasmids.
Methodology: In this study, we analyzed the presence of VF encoding genes, PAI sequences and phylogenetic groups of 96 ExPEC strains isolated from the urine and blood of patients at the University Hospital of Londrina, and we compared them with 50 faecal commensal strains from healthy individuals.
Results: The VF fyuA (65.60%) was detected in pathogenic strains and commensal strains (46%). A comparison of the distribution of ExPEC and commensal strains in the phylogenetic groups showed that more ExPEC strains belonged to group B2 whereas more of the commensal isolates belonged to group A. The distribution of the seven PAI sequences between commensal strains and ExPEC strains showed that PAI IV536 was common in both ExPEC and commensal isolates.
Conclusions: These results showed that the ExPEC strains that belonged to group B2 had more PAI sequences compared to those of the other groups, especially group B1, which had virulence genes but the lowest percentage of PAI sequences, which leads us to conclude that the virulence of ExPEC strains characterized as B2 is likely attributed to PAI encoded genes, whereas the virulence of ExPEC strains belonging to phylogenetic group B1 is likely due to plasmid encoded virulence genes.
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