Molecular Epidemiology of Extraintestinal Pathogenic Escherichia coli

James R. Johnson, Thomas A. Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) are important pathogens in humans and certain animals. Molecular epidemiological analyses of ExPEC are based on structured observations of E. coli strains as they occur in the wild. By assessing real-world phenomena as they occur in authentic contexts and hosts, they provide an important complement to experimental assessment. Fundamental to the success of molecular epidemiological studies are the careful selection of subjects and the use of appropriate typing methods and statistical analysis. To date, molecular epidemiological studies have yielded numerous important insights into putative virulence factors, host-pathogen relationships, phylogenetic background, reservoirs, antimicrobial-resistant strains, clinical diagnostics, and transmission pathways of ExPEC, and have delineated areas in which further study is needed. The rapid pace of discovery of new putative virulence factors and the increasing awareness of the importance of virulence factor regulation, expression, and molecular variation should stimulate many future molecular epidemiological investigations. The growing sophistication and availability of molecular typing methodologies, and of the new computational and statistical approaches that are being developed to address the huge amounts of data that whole genome sequencing generates, provide improved tools for such studies and allow new questions to be addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEcoSal Plus
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This material is based in part on work supported by Office of Research and Development, Medical Research Service, Department of Veterans Affairs (grants # 2I01CX000920-04 to J.R.J. and # IBX000984A to T.A.R.).

Funding Information:
The authors declare a conflict of interest. JRJ has received research grants from Allergan, Merck, and Tetraphase, is a coinvestigator on an NIH grant to IDGenomics, is a paid consultant to Crucell/Janssen, and has patent applications for tests to detect specific E. coli strains. TAR lists no financial conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved


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