Open Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 39, Number 3, May-June 2008
Number of page(s) 12
Published online 04 March 2008
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2008) 39:38
How to cite this article: Vet. Res. (2008) 39:38
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2008015

A homolog of the O157 urease-encoding O island 48 is present in porcine O149:H10 enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli

Valeria R. Parreira1, Jing Hua Liao1, Sang-Hyun Kim2 and Carlton L. Gyles1

1  Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada
2  The National Primate Research Centre, Daejeon, Republic of Korea

(Received 28 October 2007; accepted 28 February 2008; published online 04 March 2008)

Abstract - The relationship of the urease operon in the highly virulent O149 porcine enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strain Ro8 to a genomic island (GI) homologous to O island (OI) 48 of O157 enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) strain EDL933 was investigated. Eighty-four of 84 O149:H10 strains were urease positive whereas 44 of 44 O149:H43 porcine ETEC strains were urease-negative. Seventeen of 17 O149:H10 strains that were tested possessed the OI-48 homolog whereas 24 of 24 O149:H43 strains lacked this OI. Transposon insertions in lipB or guaA genes in strain Ro8 eliminated urease activity while insertions in the caiF gene increased urease activity. When the O149 ure operon was cloned on a high copy number plasmid, urease expression was increased approximately 11-fold in Ro8 and 83-fold in O157 strain EDL933 compared with that in the wild type Ro8. The O149 urease activity was expressed despite the presence of the same premature stop codon in ureD that is present in ure+ O157:H7 strains that are urease-negative. The ure operon in Ro8 consists of 4 893 nucleotides with 99% identity with the ure operons in EHEC O157:H7 strains EDL933 and Sakai, and is part of a GI similar to GI-48 of strain EDL933. This OI, designated OI-48149 , is inserted in the serX tRNA gene in strain Ro8 and contains genes for urease, tellurite resistance, iha and an AIDA-I-like adhesin. The presence of a homolog of the O157:H7 OI-48 in highly virulent O149 porcine ETEC suggests that this OI may contribute to establishment of the bacteria in the intestine.

Key words: urease / O149 / porcine enterotoxigenic E. coli / OI-48 / genomic island

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008