Virulence potential of a multidrug-resistant escherichia coli strain belonging to the emerging clonal group ST101-B1 isolated from bloodstream infection

Escherichia coli EC121 is a multidrug-resistant (MDR) strain isolated from a bloodstream infection of an inpatient with persistent gastroenteritis and T-zone lymphoma that died due to septic shock. Despite causing an extraintestinal infection, previous studies showed that it did not have the usual characteristics of an extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli. Instead, it belonged to phylogenetic group B1 and harbored few known virulence genes. To evaluate the pathogenic potential of strain EC121, an extensive genome sequencing and in vitro characterization of various pathogenicity-associated properties were performed. The genomic analysis showed that strain EC121 harbors more than 50 complete virulence genetic clusters. It also displays the capacity to adhere to a variety of epithelial cell lineages and invade T24 bladder cells, as well as the ability to form biofilms on abiotic surfaces, and survive the bactericidal serum complement activity. Additionally, EC121 was shown to be virulent in the Galleria mellonella model. Furthermore, EC121 is an MDR strain harboring 14 antimicrobial resistance genes, including blaCTX-M-2. Completing the scenario, it belongs to serotype O154:H25 and to sequence type 101-B1, which has been epidemiologically linked to extraintestinal infections as well as to antimicrobial resistance spread. This study with E. coli strain EC121 shows that clinical isolates considered opportunistic might be true pathogens that go underestimated.
Keywords
Escherichia coli;  extraintestinal;  intestinal;  multidrug resistance;  hybrid pathogen;  bloodstream infection;  DEC;  MDR;  virulence;  ST101

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Santos ACM., Silva RM., Valiatti TB., Santos FF., Santos-Neto JF., Cayô R, et al. Virulence potential of a multidrug-resistant escherichia coli strain belonging to the emerging clonal group ST101-B1 isolated from bloodstream infection. Microorganisms. 2020 May;8(6):827. doi:10.3390/microorganisms8060827.
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