Diverse virulence gene content of shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli from finishing swine

Marion Tseng, Pina M. Fratamico, Lori Bagi, Sabine Delannoy, Patrick Fach, Shannon D. Manning, Julie A. Funk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections are a critical public health concern because they can cause severe clinical outcomes, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome, in humans. Determining the presence or absence of virulence genes is essential in assessing the potential pathogenicity of STEC strains. Currently, there is limited information about the virulence genes carried by swine STEC strains; therefore, this study was conducted to examine the presence and absence of 69 virulence genes in STEC strains recovered previously from finishing swine in a longitudinal study. A subset of STEC strains was analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to examine their genetic relatedness. Swine STEC strains (n = 150) were analyzed by the use of a high-throughput real-time PCR array system, which included 69 virulence gene targets. Three major pathotypes consisted of 16 different combinations of virulence gene profiles, and serotypes were determined in the swine STEC strains. The majority of the swine STEC strains (n = 120) belonged to serotype O59:H21 and carried the same virulence gene profile, which consisted of 9 virulence genes: stx2e, iha, ecs1763, lpfAO113, estIa (STa), ehaA, paa, terE, and ureD. The eae, nleF, and nleH1-2 genes were detected in one swine STEC strain (O49:H21). Other genes encoding adhesins, including iha, were identified (n = 149). The PFGE results demonstrated that swine STEC strains from pigs raised in the same finishing barn were closely related. Our results revealed diverse virulence gene contents among the members of the swine STEC population and enhance understanding of the dynamics of transmission of STEC strains among pigs housed in the same barn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6395-6402
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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