Molecular and antimicrobial susceptibility analyses distinguish clinical from bovine Escherichia coli O157 strains

Sinisa Vidovic, Sarah Tsoi, Prabhakara Medihala, Juxin Liu, John L. Wylie, Paul N. Levett, Darren R. Korber

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10 Scopus citations


A population-based study combining (i) antimicrobial, (ii) genetic, and (iii) virulence analyses with molecular evolutionary analyses revealed segregative characteristics distinguishing human clinical and bovine Escherichia coli O157 strains from western Canada. Human (n = 50) and bovine (n = 50) strains of E. coli O157 were collected from Saskatchewan and Manitoba in 2006 and were analyzed by using the six-marker lineage-specific polymorphism assay (LSPA6), antimicrobial susceptibility analysis, the colicin assay, plasmid and virulence profiling including the eae, ehxA, espA, iha, stx1, stx2, stx2c, stx2d, stx 2d-activatable, stx2e, and stx2f virulence-associated genes, and structure analyses. Multivariate logistic regression and Fisher's exact test strongly suggested that antimicrobial susceptibility was the most distinctive characteristic (P = 0.00487) associated with human strains. Among all genetic, virulence, and antimicrobial determinants, resistance to tetracycline (P < 0.000) and to sulfisoxazole (P < 0.009) were the most strongly associated segregative characteristics of bovine E. coli O157 strains. Among 11 virulence-associated genes, stx 2c showed the strongest association with E. coli O157 strains of bovine origin. LSPA6 genotyping showed the dominance of the lineage I genotype among clinical (90%) and bovine (70%) strains, indicating the importance of lineage I in O157 epidemiology and ecology. Population structure analysis revealed that the more-diverse bovine strains came from a unique group of strains characterized by a high degree of antimicrobial resistance and high frequencies of lineage II genotypes and stx2c variants. These findings imply that antimicrobial resistance generated among bovine strains of E. coli O157 has a large impact on the population of this human pathogen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2082-2088
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013

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