Molecular Characterization of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Strains Isolated in Poland


Share / Export Citation / Email / Print / Text size:

Polish Journal of Microbiology

Polish Society of Microbiologists

Subject: Microbiology


ISSN: 1733-1331
eISSN: 2544-4646





Volume / Issue / page

Related articles

VOLUME 65 , ISSUE 3 (August 2016) > List of articles

Molecular Characterization of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Strains Isolated in Poland

Aleksandra Januszkiewicz * / Waldemar Rastawicki

Keywords : Escherichia coli, microarray detection, Shiga toxin-producing, virulence gene

Citation Information : Polish Journal of Microbiology. Volume 65, Issue 3, Pages 261-269, DOI:

License : (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Received Date : 03-December-2014 / Accepted: 11-February-2016 / Published Online: 26-August-2016



Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains also called verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) represent one of the most important groups of food-borne pathogens that can cause several human diseases such as hemorrhagic colitis (HC) and hemolytic – uremic syndrome (HUS) worldwide. The ability of STEC strains to cause disease is associated with the presence of wide range of identified and putativevirulence factors including those encoding Shiga toxin. In this study, we examined the distribution of various virulence determinants among STEC strains isolated in Poland from different sources. A total of 71 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli strains isolated from human, cattle and food over the years 1996–2010 were characterized by microarray and PCR detection of virulence genes. As stx1a subtype was present in all of the tested Shiga toxin 1 producing E. coli strains, a greater diversity of subtypes was found in the gene stx2, which occurred in five subtypes: stx2a, stx2b, stx2c, stx2d, stx2g. Among STEC O157 strains we observed conserved core set of 14 virulence factors, stable in bacteria genome at long intervals of time. There was one cattle STEC isolate which possessed verotoxin gene as well as sta1 gene encoded heat-stable enterotoxin STIa characteristic for enterotoxigenic E. coli. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive analysis of virulence gene profiles identified in STEC strains isolated from human, cattle and food in Poland. The results obtained using microarrays technology confirmed high effectiveness of this method in determining STEC virulotypes which provides data suitable for molecular risk assessment of the potential virulence of this bacteria.

Content not available PDF Share



Aspán A. and E. Eriksson. 2010. Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157:H7 from Swedish cattle; isolates from prevalence studies versus strains linked to human infections--a retrospective study. BMC Vet Res. 6: 7.


Bielaszewska M., A. Mellmann, W. Zhang, R. Köck, A. Fruth and A. Bauwens. 2011. Characterization of the Escherichia coli strain associated with an outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome in Germany, 2011: a microbiological study. Lancet Infect. Dis. 11: 671–676.


Bugarel M., L. Beutin and P. Fach. 2010. Low-density macroarray targeting non-locus of enterocyte effacement effectors (nle genes) and major virulence factors of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC): a new approach for molecular risk assessment of STEC isolates. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 76: 203–211.


Bugarel M., A. Martin, P. Fach and L. Beutin. 2011. Virulence gene profiling of enterohemorrhagic (EHEC) and enteropathogenic (EPEC) Escherichia coli strains: a basis for molecular risk assessment of typical and atypical EPEC strains. BMC Microbiol. 11: 142.


Coombes B.K., M.E. Wickham, M. Mascarenhas, S. Gruenheid, B.B. Finlay and M.A. Karmali. 2008. Molecular analysis as an aid to assess the public health risk of non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74: 2153–2160.


European Food Safe Autority Journal (EFSA). 2010. The community summery report on trends and zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreak in the European Union in 2008. EFSA Journal 8(1): 1496.


Friedrich A.W., M. Bielaszewska, W.L. Zhang, M. Pulz, T. Kuczius,A. Ammon and H. Karch. 2002. Escherichia coli harboring Shiga toxin 2 gene variants: frequency and association with clinical symp-toms. J. Infect. Dis. 185: 74–84.


Fuller C.A., C.A. Pellino, M.J. Flagler, J.E. Strasser and A.A. Weiss. 2011. Shiga toxin subtypes display dramatic differences in potency. Infect. Immun. 79: 1329–1337.


Galli L., E. Miliwebsky, K. Irino, G. Leotta and M. Rivas. 2010. Virulence profile comparison between LEE-negative Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains isolated from cattle and humans. Vet. Microbiol. 143: 307–313.


Irino K., M.A. Vieira, T.A. Gomes, B.E. Guth, Z.V. Naves, M.G. Oliveira, L.F. dos Santos, M. Guirro, C.D. Timm, C.P. Pigattoand others. 2010. Subtilase cytotoxin-encoding subAB operon found exclusively among Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains. J. Clin. Microbiol. 48: 988–990.


Jakubczak A., J. Szych and K. Januszkiewicz. 2008. Characterization of first sorbitol-fermenting shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H- strain isolated in Poland. Med. Dosw. Mikrobiol. 60:173–181.


Januszkiewicz A., E. Podsiadły, J. Szych, A. Semkowicz-Chmielewska, U. Demkow, A. Pierzchlewicz and W. Rastawicki. 2010. Fenotypic and genotypic characterization of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O111 strain isolated from patient with hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Med. Doś. Mikrobiol. 62: 319–330.


Januszkiewicz A., J. Szych, W. Rastawicki, T. Wołkowicz,A. Chróst, B. Leszczyńska, E. Kuźma, M. Roszkowska-Blaim and R. Gierczyński. 2012. Molecular epidemiology of shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli household outbreak in Poland due to secondary transmission of STEC O104:H4 from Germany. J. Med. Microbiol. 61: 552–558.


Käppeli U., H. Hächler, N. Giezendanner, L. Beutin and R. Stephan. 2011. Human infections with non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Switzerland, 2000–2009. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 17: 180–185.


Leotta G.A., E.S. Miliwebsky, I. Chinen, E.M. Espinosa, K. Azzopardi, S.M. Tennant, R.M. Robins-Browne and M. Rivas. 2008. Characterisation of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 strains isolated from humans in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. BMC Microbiol. 8: 46.


Mellmann A., D. Harmsen, C.A. Cummings, E.B. Zentz,S.R. Leopold, A. Rico. K. Prior, R. Szczepanowski, Y. Ji, W. Zhang and others. 2011. Prospective genomic characterization of the Ger-man enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O104:H4 outbreak by rapid next generation sequencing technology. PLoS One. 6(7):e22751.


Nataro J.P. and J.B. Kaper. 1998. Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 11: 142–201.


Paton A.W. and J.C. Paton. 2010. Escherichia coli subtilase cytotoxin. Toxins 2: 215–228.


Prager R., A. Fruth, U. Busch and E. Tietze. 2011. Comparative analysis of virulence genes, genetic diversity, and phylogeny of Shiga toxin 2 g and heat-stable enterotoxin STIa encoding Escherichia coli isolates from humans, animals, and environmental sources. Int.J. Med. Microbiol. 301: 181–191.


Scheutz F., E. Møller Nielsen, J. Frimodt-Møller, N. Boisen,S. Morabito, R. Tozzoli, J.P. Nataro and A. Caprioli. 2011. Characteristics of the enteroaggregative Shiga toxin/verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 strain causing the outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome in Germany, May to June 2011. Euro. Surveill. 16(24): pii: 19889.


Scheutz F., L.D. Teel, L. Beutin, D. Piérard, G. Buvens, H. Karch, A. Mellmann, A. Caprioli, R. Tozzoli, S. Morabito and others. 2012. Multicenter evaluation of a sequence-based protocol for subtyping Shiga toxins and standardizing Stx nomenclature. J. Clin. Microbiol. 50: 2951–2963.


Söderlund R., A. Aspán, R.M. Ragione, E. Eriksson and S. Boqvist.2010. Microarray-based detection of virulence genes in verotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains from Swedish cattle. Epidemiol. Infect. 15:1–9.


Stearns-Kurosawa D.J., V. Collins, S. Freeman, V.L. Tesh andS. Kurosawa. 2010. Distinct physiologic and inflammatoryresponses elicited in baboons after challenge with Shiga toxin type 1 or 2 from enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli. Infect. Immun. 78: 2497–2504.


Wu G., B. Carter, M. Mafura, E. Liebana, M.J. Woodward andM.F. Anjum. 2008. Genetic diversity among Escherichia coli O157:H7isolates and identification of genes linked to human infections. Infect. Immun. 76: 845–856.