Genome analysis and in vivo virulence of porcine extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli strain PCN033

Canying Liu, Huajun Zheng, Minjun Yang, Zhuofei Xu, Xiangru Wang, Liuya Wei, Biao Tang, Feng Liu, Yanyan Zhang, Yi Ding, Xibiao Tang, Bin Wu, Timothy J. Johnson, Huanchun Chen, Chen Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background: Strains of extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) can invade and colonize extraintestinal sites and cause a wide range of infections. Genomic analysis of ExPEC has mainly focused on isolates of human and avian origins, with porcine ExPEC isolates yet to be sequenced. To better understand the genomic attributes underlying the pathogenicity of porcine ExPEC, we isolated two E. coli strains PCN033 and PCN061 from pigs, assessed their in vivo virulence, and completed and compared their genomes. Results: Animal experiments demonstrated that strain PCN033, but not PCN061, was pathogenic in a pig model. The chromosome of PCN033 was 384 kb larger than that of PCN061. Among the PCN033-specific sequences, genes encoding adhesins, unique lipopolysaccharide, unique capsular polysaccharide, iron acquisition and transport systems, and metabolism were identified. Additionally, a large plasmid PCN033p3 harboring many typical ExPEC virulence factors was identified in PCN033. Based on the genetic variation between PCN033 and PCN061, corresponding phenotypic differences in flagellum-dependent swarming motility and metabolism were verified. Furthermore, the comparative genomic analyses showed that the PCN033 genome shared many similarities with genomic sequences of human ExPEC strains. Additionally, comparison of PCN033 genome with other nine characteristic E. coli genomes revealed 425 PCN033-special coding sequences. Genes of this subset included those encoding type I restriction-modification (R-M) system, type VI secretion system (T6SS) and membrane-associated proteins. Conclusions: The genetic and phenotypic differences between PCN033 and PCN061 could partially explain their differences in virulence, and also provide insight towards the molecular mechanisms of porcine ExPEC infections. Additionally, the similarities between the genomes of PCN033 and human ExPEC strains suggest that some connections between porcine and human ExPEC strains exist. The first completed genomic sequence for porcine ExPEC and the genomic differences identified by comparative analyses provide a baseline understanding of porcine ExPEC genetics and lay the foundation for their further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number717
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 21 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (No.31472201, No. 31030065,No. 31421064), and the 863 Program (2012AA101601).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Liu et al.


  • Comparative genomic analysis
  • Pathogenicity analyses
  • Porcine extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli
  • Virulence factors


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