Free Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 36, Number 2, March-April 2005
Page(s) 241 - 256
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2005) 241-256
Vet. Res. 36 (2005) 241-256
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2004057

Characterizing the APEC pathotype

Kylie E. Rodriguez-Sieka, Catherine W. Giddingsb, Curt Doetkottc, Timothy J. Johnsona and Lisa K. Nolana

a  Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
b  Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105, USA
c  Information Technology Services, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105, USA

(Received 23 July 2004; accepted 18 October 2004)

Abstract - The purpose of this study was to compare avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) isolates to fecal isolates of apparently healthy poultry (avian fecal E. coli or AFEC) by their possession of various traits in order to ascertain whether APEC and AFEC are distinct and if the APEC strains constitute a distinct pathotype. Four hundred and fifty-one APEC and one hundred and four AFEC isolates were examined for possession of traits associated with the virulence of human extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) as well as APEC. Several of the genes occurred in the majority of APEC and only infrequently in AFEC, including cvaC, iroN, iss, iutA, sitA, tsh, fyuA, irp2, and ompT. Of these genes, several have been found on large plasmids in APEC. Other genes occurred in significantly more APEC than AFEC but did not occur in the majority of APEC. Isolates were also evaluated by serogroup, lactose utilization, and hemolytic reaction. Twenty-nine and a half percent of the APEC and forty-two and three tenths percent of the AFEC were not serogrouped because they were not typeable with standard antisera, typed to multiple serogroups, were rough, autoagglutinated, or were not done. Around 65% of the typeable APEC (205 isolates) and AFEC (41 isolates) were classified into shared serogroups, and about a third of both fell into APEC- (113 isolates) or AFEC- (19 isolates) unique serogroups. Most were able to use lactose. No isolate was hemolytic. Overall, the majority of the APEC isolates surveyed shared a common set of putative virulence genes, many of which have been localized to an APEC plasmid known as pTJ100. This common set of genes may prove useful in defining an APEC pathotype.

Key words: avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) / pathotype / virulence plasmid / ExPEC / pTJ100

Corresponding author: Lisa K. Nolan

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005