Transient shielding of intimin and the type III secretion system of enterohemorrhagic and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli by a group 4 capsule

Yulia Shifrin, Adi Peleg, Ophir Ilan, Chen Nadler, Simi Kobi, Kobi Baruch, Gal Yerushalmi, Tatiana Berdichevsky, Shoshy Altuvia, Maya Elgrably-Weiss, Cecilia Abe, Stuart Knutton, Chihiro Sasakawa, Jennifer M. Ritchie, Matthew K. Waldor, Ilan Rosenshine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Enterohemorrhagic and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EHEC and EPEC, respectively) strains represent a major global health problem. Their virulence is mediated by the concerted activity of an array of virulence factors including toxins, a type III protein secretion system (TTSS), pili, and others. We previously showed that EPEC 0127 forms a group 4 capsule (G4C), and in this report we show that EHEC O157 also produces a G4C, whose assembly is dependent on the etp, etk, and wzy genes. We further show that at early time points postinfection, these G4Cs appear to mask surface structures including intimin and the TTSS. This masking inhibited the attachment of EPEC and EHEC to tissue-cultured epithelial cells, diminished their capacity to induce the formation of actin pedestals, and attenuated TTSS-mediated protein translocation into host cells. Importantly, we found that Ler, a positive regulator of intimin and TTSS genes, represses the expression of the capsule-related genes, including etp and etk. Thus, the expression of TTSS and G4C is conversely regulated and capsule production is diminished upon TTSS expression. Indeed, at later time points postinfection, the diminishing capsule no longer interferes with the activities of intimin and the TTSS. Notably, by using the rabbit infant model, we found that the EHEC G4C is required for efficient colonization of the rabbit large intestine. Taken together, our results suggest that temporal expression of the capsule, which is coordinated with that of the TTSS, is required for optimal EHEC colonization of the host intestine.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5063-5074
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume190
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2008

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