Washington: BGI has released the first complete map of the Germany E. coli O104 genome and attributed the strain to a category of Shiga toxin-producing enteroaggregative Escherichia coli.
The smallest one is a so-called ‘selfish plasmid’ carrying only two genes, one of which encodes a DNA replication protein, the other carrying the aggregative adherence fimbria I (AAF/I) gene cluster, which is associated with E. coliaggregation ability and virulence, and likely to play a role in the persistence of the disease. The study confirms that the outbreak strain belonged to an EAEC (enteroaggregative E. coli) lineage, but acquired the Shiga toxin producing ability by the integration of a phage genome. This explains the initial confusion as to why the EAEC-lineage bacteria harbored some characteristics of EHEC (enterohaemorrhagic E. coli) strains. The researchers concluded that the deadly ‘Germany E. coli’ is not a completely new bacterium and can be considered a ‘hybrid’ strain, now temporarily termed Shiga toxin-producing enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (STpEAEC). ANI
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