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Gene Review

eae  -  intimin adherence protein

Escherichia coli O157:H7 str. EDL933

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Disease relevance of eae


High impact information on eae

  • Intimate attachment in vivo was restored when the EHEC eae gene or the eaeA gene of EPEC was introduced into the mutant on a plasmid [2].
  • Other non-invasive EPEC mutants (eae) are still able to induce Hp90 tyrosine phosphorylation and to initiate aggregation of the tyrosine phosphorylated proteins and some cytoskeleton components [6].
  • Using TnphoA mutagenesis we have identified a chromosomal gene (eae, for E. coli attaching and effacing) that is necessary for this activity [3].
  • SdiA has a DNA-binding motif in its C-terminal part and can bind to the promoter regions of the esp and eae genes in vitro [7].
  • The 90 kDa protein was revealed to be intimin, a protein product of the eae gene, which is required for the EPEC attaching/effacing phenotype, suggesting a direct interaction of TrcA with intimin in the cytoplasmic compartment [8].

Chemical compound and disease context of eae

  • The bacterial isolate was an enteropathogenic E. coli isolate which did not contain the adherence factor (EAF) but possessed the attaching-effacing eae gene, was able to invade HeLa cells in a gentamicin invasion assay, and also invaded rabbit intestinal cells [9].
  • Thus, eae-positive, necrotoxigenic, and verotoxigenic (except for nalidixic acid) E. coli strains were significantly more sensitive to nalidixic acid, enoxacin, and enrofloxacin than nonfimbriated, nontoxigenic, eae-negative strains [10].
  • We conclude that enteropathogenic E. coli strains that possess the eae gene are a common cause of diarrhea in Spanish rabbit farms and that the rhamnose-negative highly pathogenic strains of serotype O103:K-:H2 and biotype B14 are especially predominant [11].
  • The strains were initially identified as Hafnia alvei with a commercial identification system and were reported to contain the eae gene of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli [12].
  • The 32 sorbitol-positive strains tested negative for stx genes and belonged to the serotypes O157:H2, O157:H7, O157:H8, O157:H12, O157:H19, O157:H25, O157:H27, O157:H38, O157:H43, O157:H45, and O157:H-. All O157:H45 strains harbored the eae subtype alpha 1 and therefore seem to be atypical enteropathogenic E. coli strains [13].

Biological context of eae


Anatomical context of eae

  • The genes encoding the proteins for A/E lesion formation are located on a pathogenicity island, termed the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE), which contains eae encoding intimin as well as the type III secretion system and effector genes [19].
  • HeLa cell adherence, actin aggregation, and invasion by nonenteropathogenic Escherichia coli possessing the eae gene [20].
  • LEE contains the eae gene, which encodes intimin, an outer membrane protein which mediates the intimate attachment of bacteria to the host epithelial cell surface, and eae is routinely used as a marker for LEE-positive STEC strains [21].
  • Following washing out of the nonadherent bacteria, while wild-type EHEC bacteria developed MC for another 2 to 3 h on Caco-2 cells, the eae mutant diffusely adhered throughout the infection without forming MC [22].
  • Complementing the eae gene mutation in CVD206 (derived from EPEC strain E2348/69) with EPEC eaealpha (encoding intimin-alpha) restored the ability to colonize small intestinal mucosa like the parent strain [23].

Associations of eae with chemical compounds

  • Moreover, eae-positive strains were significantly more sensitive to enoxacin and enrofloxacin than F5-positive strains [10].
  • VTEC O26 strains from calves were characterized by the presence of the vtx1, eae, and ehxA genes, whereas vtx2 was associated with VTEC O2 and provisional serogroup E40874 [24].
  • All nine human isolates obtained were sorbitol negative, carried the verocytotoxin 2 and eae genes, and produced verocytotoxin and enterohaemolysin [25].
  • The isolates did not ferment sorbitol, rhamnose, sucrose or melibiose; they belonged to serogroup O86:K61, produced cytolethal distending toxin (CLDT) and possessed the eae gene sequence [26].
  • Serotype-specific detection of STEC O26 was achieved by selecting cefixime-tellurite-resistant, MUG-fluorescent, rhamnose-nonfermenting colonies, which carried stx1, eae beta, irp2, and wzx gene sequences [27].

Other interactions of eae

  • Supernatants of wild-type EPEC strain E2348/69 and its isogenic mutants deficient in TTSS (escN) and in production of intimin (eae), grown in Luria-Bertani broth, elicited similar amounts of IL-8 secretion by T84 cells [28].
  • Based on gene typing, we observed 7 different eae espA espB tir pathotypes among the 12 STEC strains and described the new espAbetav variant [29].
  • Treatment of vesicles with exogenous DNase hydrolyzed surface-associated DNA; PCR demonstrated that vesicles contain DNA encoding the virulence genes eae, stx1 and stx2, and uidA, which encodes for beta-galactosidase [30].
  • The three strains with the H32 fliC RFLP pattern belonged to serotype O26:H32, and all were eae negative [31].
  • The ureC gene was more frequent among STEC isolates harbouring eae than among those lacking eae (p < 0.0001) [32].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of eae

  • To assess the role of the EHEC eae gene in intimate attachment, we constructed an eae deletion/insertion mutation in wild-type EHEC O157:H7 strain 86-24 by using linear electroporation of a recombinant allele [2].
  • Based on these considerations, we developed a panel of specific primers to investigate the eae heterogeneity of the variable 3' region by using PCR amplification [33].
  • In the second study, a control group and volunteers who had previously ingested either the O127:H6 strain or an isogenic eae deletion mutant of that strain were challenged with the homologous wild-type strain [34].
  • We have now studied 13 STEC O157:H7 strains and 1 O55:H7 strain that were epidemiologically unrelated, that originated from six countries on two continents, and that had different profiles when analyzed by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and PCR for stx and eae [35].
  • By serotyping and determination of the virulence-associated factors Shiga toxin (stx1 stx2 stx2 variants), intimin (eae), and EHEC hemolysin (Hly(EHEC)), three distinctive groups of O118 human pathogens were identified [36].


  1. Mucosally-directed adrenergic nerves and sympathomimetic drugs enhance non-intimate adherence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to porcine cecum and colon. Chen, C., Lyte, M., Stevens, M.P., Vulchanova, L., Brown, D.R. Eur. J. Pharmacol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  2. The role of the eae gene of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli in intimate attachment in vitro and in a porcine model. Donnenberg, M.S., Tzipori, S., McKee, M.L., O'Brien, A.D., Alroy, J., Kaper, J.B. J. Clin. Invest. (1993) [Pubmed]
  3. A genetic locus of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli necessary for the production of attaching and effacing lesions on tissue culture cells. Jerse, A.E., Yu, J., Tall, B.D., Kaper, J.B. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1990) [Pubmed]
  4. Molecular characterization of the locus encoding biosynthesis of the lipopolysaccharide O antigen of Escherichia coli serotype O113. Paton, A.W., Paton, J.C. Infect. Immun. (1999) [Pubmed]
  5. Attaching and effacing locus of a Citrobacter freundii biotype that causes transmissible murine colonic hyperplasia. Schauer, D.B., Falkow, S. Infect. Immun. (1993) [Pubmed]
  6. Signal transduction between enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and epithelial cells: EPEC induces tyrosine phosphorylation of host cell proteins to initiate cytoskeletal rearrangement and bacterial uptake. Rosenshine, I., Donnenberg, M.S., Kaper, J.B., Finlay, B.B. EMBO J. (1992) [Pubmed]
  7. SdiA, an Escherichia coli homologue of quorum-sensing regulators, controls the expression of virulence factors in enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7. Kanamaru, K., Kanamaru, K., Tatsuno, I., Tobe, T., Sasakawa, C. Mol. Microbiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  8. A novel chromosomal locus of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), which encodes a bfpT-regulated chaperone-like protein, TrcA, involved in microcolony formation by EPEC. Tobe, T., Tatsuno, I., Katayama, E., Wu, C.Y., Schoolnik, G.K., Sasakawa, C. Mol. Microbiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  9. Attaching and effacing enteropathogenic Escherichia coli O18ab invades epithelial cells and causes persistent diarrhea. Scaletsky, I.C., Pedroso, M.Z., Fagundes-Neto, U. Infect. Immun. (1996) [Pubmed]
  10. In vitro activities of cephalosporins and quinolones against Escherichia coli strains isolated from diarrheic dairy calves. Orden, J.A., Ruiz-Santa-Quiteria, J.A., García, S., Cid, D., De La Fuente, R. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1999) [Pubmed]
  11. O serogroups, biotypes, and eae genes in Escherichia coli strains isolated from diarrheic and healthy rabbits. Blanco, J.E., Blanco, M., Blanco, J., Mora, A., Balaguer, L., Mouriño, M., Juarez, A., Jansen, W.H. J. Clin. Microbiol. (1996) [Pubmed]
  12. Prototypal diarrheagenic strains of Hafnia alvei are actually members of the genus Escherichia. Janda, J.M., Abbott, S.L., Albert, M.J. J. Clin. Microbiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  13. Fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella, and Campylobacter in Swiss cattle at slaughter. al-Saigh, H., Zweifel, C., Blanco, J., Blanco, J.E., Blanco, M., Usera, M.A., Stephan, R. J. Food Prot. (2004) [Pubmed]
  14. Cloning and characterization of the eae gene of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7. Yu, J., Kaper, J.B. Mol. Microbiol. (1992) [Pubmed]
  15. Molecular evolution and mosaic structure of alpha, beta, and gamma intimins of pathogenic Escherichia coli. McGraw, E.A., Li, J., Selander, R.K., Whittam, T.S. Mol. Biol. Evol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  16. Virulence determinants in nontoxinogenic Escherichia coli O157 strains that cause infantile diarrhea. Schmidt, H., Rüssmann, H., Karch, H. Infect. Immun. (1993) [Pubmed]
  17. A genomic island, termed high-pathogenicity island, is present in certain non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli clonal lineages. Karch, H., Schubert, S., Zhang, D., Zhang, W., Schmidt, H., Olschläger, T., Hacker, J. Infect. Immun. (1999) [Pubmed]
  18. Plasmid and chromosomal elements involved in the pathogenesis of attaching and effacing Escherichia coli. Jerse, A.E., Gicquelais, K.G., Kaper, J.B. Infect. Immun. (1991) [Pubmed]
  19. CesD2 of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli is a second chaperone for the type III secretion translocator protein EspD. Neves, B.C., Mundy, R., Petrovska, L., Dougan, G., Knutton, S., Frankel, G. Infect. Immun. (2003) [Pubmed]
  20. HeLa cell adherence, actin aggregation, and invasion by nonenteropathogenic Escherichia coli possessing the eae gene. Cantey, J.R., Moseley, S.L. Infect. Immun. (1991) [Pubmed]
  21. Up-regulation of both intimin and eae-independent adherence of shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli O157 by ler and phenotypic impact of a naturally occurring ler mutation. Ogierman, M.A., Paton, A.W., Paton, J.C. Infect. Immun. (2000) [Pubmed]
  22. Isolation and characterization of mini-Tn5Km2 insertion mutants of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 deficient in adherence to Caco-2 cells. Tatsuno, I., Kimura, H., Okutani, A., Kanamaru, K., Abe, H., Nagai, S., Makino, K., Shinagawa, H., Yoshida, M., Sato, K., Nakamoto, J., Tobe, T., Sasakawa, C. Infect. Immun. (2000) [Pubmed]
  23. Intimin-mediated tissue specificity in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli interaction with human intestinal organ cultures. Phillips, A.D., Frankel, G. J. Infect. Dis. (2000) [Pubmed]
  24. Shedding patterns of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli strains in a cohort of calves and their dams on a Scottish beef farm. Shaw, D.J., Jenkins, C., Pearce, M.C., Cheasty, T., Gunn, G.J., Dougan, G., Smith, H.R., Woolhouse, M.E., Frankel, G. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2004) [Pubmed]
  25. Use of phenotyping and genotyping to verify transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from dairy farms. Lahti, E., Eklund, M., Ruutu, P., Siitonen, A., Rantala, L., Nuorti, P., Honkanen-Buzalski, T. Eur. J. Clin. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. (2002) [Pubmed]
  26. Isolation of Escherichia coli O86:K61 producing cyto-lethal distending toxin from wild birds of the finch family. Foster, G., Ross, H.M., Pennycott, T.W., Hopkins, G.F., McLaren, I.M. Lett. Appl. Microbiol. (1998) [Pubmed]
  27. Phenotypic and genetic markers for serotype-specific detection of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 strains from North America. Murinda, S.E., Batson, S.D., Nguyen, L.T., Gillespie, B.E., Oliver, S.P. Foodborne Pathog. Dis. (2004) [Pubmed]
  28. Flagellin of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli stimulates interleukin-8 production in T84 cells. Zhou, X., Girón, J.A., Torres, A.G., Crawford, J.A., Negrete, E., Vogel, S.N., Kaper, J.B. Infect. Immun. (2003) [Pubmed]
  29. Localization of the insertion site and pathotype determination of the locus of enterocyte effacement of shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains. Bertin, Y., Boukhors, K., Livrelli, V., Martin, C. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2004) [Pubmed]
  30. Export of virulence genes and Shiga toxin by membrane vesicles of Escherichia coli O157:H7. Kolling, G.L., Matthews, K.R. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  31. Molecular analysis of H antigens reveals that human diarrheagenic Escherichia coli O26 strains that carry the eae gene belong to the H11 clonal complex. Zhang, W.L., Bielaszewska, M., Bockemühl, J., Schmidt, H., Scheutz, F., Karch, H. J. Clin. Microbiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  32. Urease genes in non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli: mostly silent but valuable markers for pathogenicity. Friedrich, A.W., Lukas, R., Mellmann, A., Köck, R., Zhang, W., Mathys, W., Bielaszewska, M., Karch, H. Clin. Microbiol. Infect. (2006) [Pubmed]
  33. Typing of intimin genes in human and animal enterohemorrhagic and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli: characterization of a new intimin variant. Oswald, E., Schmidt, H., Morabito, S., Karch, H., Marchès, O., Caprioli, A. Infect. Immun. (2000) [Pubmed]
  34. Effect of prior experimental human enteropathogenic Escherichia coli infection on illness following homologous and heterologous rechallenge. Donnenberg, M.S., Tacket, C.O., Losonsky, G., Frankel, G., Nataro, J.P., Dougan, G., Levine, M.M. Infect. Immun. (1998) [Pubmed]
  35. Serology and genetics of the flagellar antigen of Escherichia coli O157:H7a,7c. Ratiner, Y.A., Salmenlinna, S., Eklund, M., Keskimäki, M., Siitonen, A. J. Clin. Microbiol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  36. Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) strains of serogroup O118 display three distinctive clonal groups of EHEC pathogens. Wieler, L.H., Busse, B., Steinrück, H., Beutin, L., Weber, A., Karch, H., Baljer, G. J. Clin. Microbiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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