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      Vesicle-mediated transfer of virulence genes from Escherichia coli O157:H7 to other enteric bacteria.

      Applied and Environmental Microbiology
      Animals, Cell Survival, Cercopithecus aethiops, DNA Primers, DNA, Bacterial, genetics, ultrastructure, Enterobacteriaceae, pathogenicity, Escherichia coli O157, Microscopy, Electron, Plasmids, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Recombination, Genetic, Salmonella, Transduction, Genetic, Vero Cells, Virulence

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          Abstract

          Membrane vesicles are released from the surfaces of many gram-negative bacteria during growth. Vesicles consist of proteins, lipopolysaccharide, phospholipids, RNA, and DNA. Results of the present study demonstrate that membrane vesicles isolated from the food-borne pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7 facilitate the transfer of genes, which are then expressed by recipient Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis or E. coli JM109. Electron micrographs of purified DNA from E. coli O157:H7 vesicles showed large rosette-like structures, linear DNA fragments, and small open-circle plasmids. PCR analysis of vesicle DNA demonstrated the presence of specific genes from host and recombinant plasmids (hly, L7095, mobA, and gfp), chromosomal DNA (uidA and eaeA), and phage DNA (stx1 and stx2). The results of PCR and the Vero cell assay demonstrate that genetic material, including virulence genes, is transferred to recipient bacteria and subsequently expressed. The cytotoxicity of the transformed enteric bacteria was sixfold higher than that of the parent isolate (E. coli JM109). Utilization of the nonhost plasmid (pGFP) permitted the evaluation of transformation efficiency (ca. 10(3) transformants microg of DNA(-1)) and demonstrated that vesicles can deliver antibiotic resistance. Transformed E. coli JM109 cells were resistant to ampicillin and fluoresced a brilliant green. The role vesicles play in genetic exchange between different species in the environment or host has yet to be defined.

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          Rapid colorimetric assay for cellular growth and survival: Application to proliferation and cytotoxicity assays

          A tetrazolium salt has been used to develop a quantitative colorimetric assay for mammalian cell survival and proliferation. The assay detects living, but not dead cells and the signal generated is dependent on the degree of activation of the cells. This method can therefore be used to measure cytotoxicity, proliferation or activation. The results can be read on a multiwell scanning spectrophotometer (ELISA reader) and show a high degree of precision. No washing steps are used in the assay. The main advantages of the colorimetric assay are its rapidity and precision, and the lack of any radioisotope. We have used the assay to measure proliferative lymphokines, mitogen stimulations and complement-mediated lysis.
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            Rapid extraction of bacterial genomic DNA with guanidium thiocyanate

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              A genetic locus of enterocyte effacement conserved among diverse enterobacterial pathogens.

              Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli O157:H7 are intestinal pathogens that profoundly damage the microvilli and subapical cytoskeleton of epithelial cells. Here we report finding in EPEC a 35-kbp locus containing several regions implicated in formation of these lesions. DNA probes throughout this locus hybridize to E. coli O157:H7 and other pathogens of three genera that cause similar lesions but do not hybridize to avirulent members of the same species. The EPEC locus and a different virulence locus of uropathogenic E. coli insert into the E. coli chromosome at the identical site and share highly similar sequences near the point of insertion.
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