Determining the Virulence Properties of Escherichia coli ST131 Containing Bacteriocin-Encoding Plasmids Using Short- and Long-Read Sequencing and Comparing Them with Those of Other E. coli Lineages

Ana Carolina da Cruz Campos, Francis M Cavallo, Nathália L Andrade, Jan Maarten van Dijl, Natacha Couto, Jan Zrimec, Jerome R Lo Ten Foe, Ana C P Rosa, Paulo V Damasco, Alex W Friedrich, Monika A Chlebowicz-Flissikowska, John W A Rossen

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Escherichia coli ST131 is a clinical challenge due to its multidrug resistant profile and successful global spread. They are often associated with complicated infections, particularly urinary tract infections (UTIs). Bacteriocins play an important role to outcompete other microorganisms present in the human gut. Here, we characterized bacteriocin-encoding plasmids found in ST131 isolates of patients suffering from a UTI using both short- and long-read sequencing. Colicins Ia, Ib and E1, and microcin V, were identified among plasmids that also contained resistance and virulence genes. To investigate if the potential transmission range of the colicin E1 plasmid is influenced by the presence of a resistance gene, we constructed a strain containing a plasmid which had both the colicin E1 and blaCMY-2 genes. No difference in transmission range was found between transformant and wild-type strains. However, a statistically significantly difference was found in adhesion and invasion ability. Bacteriocin-producing isolates from both ST131 and non-ST131 lineages were able to inhibit the growth of other E. coli isolates, including other ST131. In summary, plasmids harboring bacteriocins give additional advantages for highly virulent and resistant ST131 isolates, improving the ability of these isolates to compete with other microbiota for a niche and thereby increasing the risk of infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number534
Number of pages15
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 6-Nov-2019

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