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An investigation of vtx2 bacteriophage transduction to different Escherichia coli patho-groups in food matrices and nutrient broth

Nyambe, Sepo, Burgess, Catherine, Whyte, Paul, Bolton, Declan
Food microbiology 2017 v.68 pp. 1-6
bacteriophages, enteroinvasive Escherichia coli, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, food matrix, food pathogens, genes, ground beef, lettuce, loci, milk, pathotypes, polymerase chain reaction
This study investigated bacteriophage (phage) mediated transfer of the vtx2 gene from a donor Escherichia coli (C600φ3538(Δvtx2::cat)) to enteropathogenic (EPEC), enterotoxigenic (ETEC), enteroaggregative (EAEC), enteroinvasive (EIEC) and diffusely adherent (DAEC) E. coli strains in LB broth, milk, ground beef and lettuce. Two bacterial concentrations for both the E. coli donor and recipient strains, 3 and 5 log10 CFU/ml (LB broth and milk)/g (beef) or/cm2 (lettuce), were used. When transductants were obtained, the location of insertion of the phage (insertion sites wrbA, yehA, sbcB, yecE and/or Z2577) in the E. coli chromosome was investigated by PCR. The vtx2 gene was readily transferred to EAEC O104:H4 (E99518) in all matrices and inserted into the chromosome at the sbcB locus. At higher cell concentrations, transductants were also obtained with ETEC E4683, ETEC E8057 (insertion site unknown) and DAEC O75:H- E66438 (insertion site unknown) in LB broth and milk. It was concluded that the vtx2 gene may be transferred by bacteriophage to different E. coli pathotypes in laboratory and food matrices, resulting in the spread of the vtx2 gene and the emergence of novel foodborne pathogens.