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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of rpoS in acid resistance and fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7.

Acid resistance (AR) is important to survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in acidic foods and may play a role during passage through the bovine host. In this study, we examined the role in AR of the rpoS-encoded global stress response regulator sigma(S) and its effect on shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in mice and calves. When assayed for each of the three AR systems identified in E. coli, an rpoS mutant (rpoS::pRR10) of E. coli O157:H7 lacked the glucose-repressed system and possessed reduced levels of both the arginine- and glutamate-dependent AR systems. After administration of the rpoS mutant and the wild-type strain (ATCC 43895) to ICR mice at doses ranging from 10(1) to 10(4) CFU, we found the wild-type strain in feces of mice given lower doses (10(2) versus 10(3) CFU) and at a greater frequency (80% versus 13%) than the mutant strain. The reduction in passage of the rpoS mutant was due to decreased AR, as administration of the mutant in 0.05 M phosphate buffer facilitated passage and increased the frequency of recovery in feces from 27 to 67% at a dose of 10(4) CFU. Enumeration of E. coli O157:H7 in feces from calves inoculated with an equal mixture of the wild-type strain and the rpoS mutant demonstrated shedding of the mutant to be 10- to 100-fold lower than wild-type numbers. This difference in shedding between the wild-type strain and the rpoS mutant was statistically significant (P </= 0.05). Thus, sigma(S) appears to play a role in E. coli O157:H7 passage in mice and shedding from calves, possibly by inducing expression of the glucose-repressed RpoS-dependent AR determinant and thus increasing resistance to gastrointestinal stress. These findings may provide clues for future efforts aimed at reducing or eliminating this pathogen from cattle herds.[1]


  1. Role of rpoS in acid resistance and fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7. Price, S.B., Cheng, C.M., Kaspar, C.W., Wright, J.C., DeGraves, F.J., Penfound, T.A., Castanie-Cornet, M.P., Foster, J.W. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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