(EHEC) produces Shiga toxin 1 (Stx1) and Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2). Although stx1 and stx2 were found within the late operons of the Stx-encoding phages (Stx-phages), stx1 could mainly be transcribed from the stx1 promoter (P
Stx1), which represents the functional operator-binding site (Fur box) for the transcriptional regulator Fur (ferric uptake regulator), upstream of stx1. In this study, we found that the production of Stx1 by EHEC was affected by oxygen concentration. Increased Stx1 production in the presence of oxygen is dependent on Fur, which is an Fe2+-responsive transcription factor. The intracellular Fe2+ pool was lower under microaerobic conditions than under anaerobic conditions, suggesting that lower Fe2+ availability drove the formation of less Fe2+-Fur, less DNA binding to the P
Stx1 region, and an increase in Stx1 production.
AbstractEnterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) comprise a group of intestinal pathogens responsible for a range of illnesses, including kidney failure and neurological compromise. EHEC produce critical virulence factors, Shiga toxin (Stx) 1 or 2, and the synthesis of Stx2 is associated with worse disease manifestations. Infected patients only receive supportive treatment because some conventional antibiotics enable toxin production. Shiga toxin 2 genes (stx2) are carried in λ-like bacteriophages (stx2-phages) inserted into the EHEC genome as prophages. Factors that cause DNA damage induce the lytic cycle of stx2-phages, leading to Stx2 production. The phage Q protein is critical for transcription antitermination of stx2 and phage lytic genes. This study reports that deficiency of two endoribonucleases (RNases), E and G, significantly delayed cell lysis and impaired production of both Stx2 and stx2-phages, unlike deficiency of either enzyme alone. Moreover, scarcity of both enzymes reduced the concentrations of Q and stx2 transcripts and slowed cell growth.
SummaryShiga toxin (Stx)-mediated injury to vascular endothelial cells in the kidneys, brain and other organs underlies the pathogenesis of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) caused by enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC). We present a direct and comprehensive comparison of cellular injury induced by the two major Stx types, Stx1 and Stx2, in human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMECs) and EA.hy 926 macro-vascular endothelial cells. Scanning electron microscopy of microcarrier-based cell cultures, digital holographic microscopy of living single cells, and quantitative apoptosis/necrosis assays demonstrate that Stx1 causes both necrosis and apoptosis, whereas Stx2 induces almost exclusively apoptosis in both cell lines. Moreover, microvascular and macrovascular endothelial cells have different susceptibilities to the toxins: EA.hy 926 cells are slightly, but significantly (~ 10 times) more susceptible to Stx1, whereas HBMECs are strikingly (≥ 1,000 times) more susceptible to Stx2. These findings have implications in the pathogenesis of HUS, and suggest the existence of yet to be delineated Stx type-specific mechanisms of endothelial cell injury beyond inhibition of protein bio-synthesis.
In Argentina, Escherichia coli O157:H7/NM (STEC O157) is the prevalent serotype associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is endemic in the country with more than 400 cases per year. In order to estimate the prevalence and characteristics of STEC O157 in beef cattle at slaughter, a survey of 1,622 fecal and carcass samples was conducted in nine beef exporting abattoirs from November 2006 to April 2008. A total of 54 samples were found positive for STEC O157, with an average prevalence of 4.1% in fecal content and 2.6% in carcasses. Calves and heifers presented higher percentages of prevalence in feces, 10.5 and 8.5%, respectively. All STEC O157 isolates harbored stx2 (Shiga toxin 2), eae (intimin), ehxA (enterohemolysin), and fliCH7 (H7 flagellin) genes, while stx1 (Shiga toxin 1) was present in 16.7% of the strains. The prevalent (56%) stx genotype identified was stx2 combined with variant stx2c (vh-a), the combination of which is also prevalent (>90%) in STEC O157 post–enteric HUS cases in Argentina. The clonal relatedness of STEC O157 strains was established by phage typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The 54 STEC isolates were categorized into 12 different phage types and in 29 XbaI-PFGE patterns distributed in 27 different lots. STEC O157 strains isolated from 5 of 21 carcasses were identical by PFGE (100% similarity) to strains of the fecal content of the same or a contiguous bovine in the lot. Five phage type–PFGE–stx profiles of 10 strains isolated in this study matched with the profiles of the strains recovered from 18 of 122 HUS cases that occurred in the same period.