Lipopolysaccharide core type diversity in the Escherichia coli species in association with phylogeny, virulence gene repertoire and distribution of type VI secretion systems

Sébastien O. Leclercq, Maxime Branger, David G. E. Smith, Pierre Germon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Escherichia coli is a very versatile species for which diversity has been explored from various perspectives highlighting, for example, phylogenetic groupings and pathovars, as well as a wide range of O serotypes. The highly variable O-antigen, the most external part of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) component of the outer membrane of E. coli, is linked to the innermost lipid A through the core region of LPS of which five different structures, denominated K-12, R1, R2, R3 and R4, have been characterized so far. The aim of the present study was to analyse the prevalence of these LPS core types in the E. coli species and explore their distribution in the different E. coli phylogenetic groups and in relationship with the virulence gene repertoire. Results indicated an uneven distribution of core types between the different phylogroups, with phylogroup A strains being the most diverse in terms of LPS core types, while phylogroups B1, D and E strains were dominated by the R3 type, and phylogroups B2 and C strains were dominated by the R1 type. Strains carrying the LEE virulence operon were mostly of the R3 type whatever the phylogroup while, within phylogroup B2, strains carrying a K-12 core all belonged to the complex STc131, one of the major clones of extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) strains. The origin of this uneven distribution is discussed but remains to be fully explained, as well as the consequences of carrying a specific core type on the wider aspects of bacterial phenotype.
Original languageEnglish
Article number000652
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Volume7
Issue number9
Early online date29 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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