Shiga toxin 2 translocation across intestinal epithelium is linked to virulence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli in humans

Seav-Ly Tran, Claire Jenkins, Valérie Livrelli, Stephanie Schüller (Lead Author)

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Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are characterized by the release of potent Shiga toxins (Stx), which are associated with severe intestinal and renal disease. Although all STEC strains produce Stx, only a few serotypes cause infection in humans. To determine which virulence traits in vitro are linked to human disease in vivo, 13 Stx2a-producing STEC strains of seropathotype (SPT) A or B (associated with severe human intestinal disease and outbreaks) and 6 strains of SPT D or E (rarely or not linked to human disease) were evaluated in a microaerobic human colonic epithelial infection model. All SPT strains demonstrated similar growth, colonization of polarized T84 colon carcinoma cells and Stx release into the medium. In contrast, Stx translocation across the T84 cell monolayer was significantly lower in SPT group DE compared to SPT group AB strains. Further experiments showed that Stx penetration occurred via a transcellular pathway and was independent of bacterial type III secretion and attaching and effacing lesion formation. These results suggest that the extent of Stx transcytosis across the gut epithelium may represent an important indicator of STEC pathogenicity for humans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-516
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Early online date13 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

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