Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Deadly E. coli strain decoded

Date:
July 26, 2012
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
The secret to the deadly 2011 E. coli outbreak in Germany has now been decoded. The deadliest E. coli outbreak ever was traced to a particularly virulent strain that researchers had never seen in an outbreak before.

The secret to the deadly 2011 E. coli outbreak in Germany has been decoded, thanks to research conducted at Michigan State University.

The deadliest E. coli outbreak ever, which caused 54 deaths and sickened more than 3,800 people, was traced to a particularly virulent strain that researchers had never seen in an outbreak before. In the current issue of the academic journal PLoS ONE, a team of researchers led by Shannon Manning, MSU molecular biologist and epidemiologist, suggests a way to potentially tame the killer bacteria.

The strain, E. coli O104:H4, shares some characteristics as other deadly E. coli bacteria, but its combination is novel. Researchers haven't determined the mechanism it uses to cause disease, although Manning and her team were able to find the strain's Achilles heel - its biofilm.

By focusing on the bacteria's biofilm, the grouping of many E. coli bacteria that stick to a cell's surface and grow encased in a self-produced protective coat, Manning and colleagues were able to determine why it was so deadly. When the bacterium found in Germany forms a biofilm, it begins to make more toxic genes like the Shiga toxin.

Increased production of the Shiga toxin is the probable culprit that contributed to so many incidents of kidney damage and death during the 2011 outbreak, Manning said.

"What made the German outbreak so different is that many victims suffering from kidney failure were adults," she said. "Rather than attacking adults, other types of E. coli that produce Shiga toxins typically damage kidneys of children under 10."

In addition, the incubation period was considerably longer among individuals infected with the German outbreak strain compared to individuals infected with E. coli O157, a similar bacterium that can also cause illness and death. Manning believes this is because the German strain needs a longer period of time to form a biofilm, whereas biofilms are not important for O157 infections.

"Our research demonstrates that biofilm formation is critical for toxin production and kidney damage," she said. "If we can block the bacteria from forming a stable biofilm, then it is likely that we can prevent future E. coli O104:H4 infections."

The next phase of Manning's research is already focusing on creating mutant strains in an effort to prevent the bacterium from forming a biofilm. This would prevent the disease completely since the conditions would not be favorable for bacterial growth.

Chris Waters, MSU assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and scientists from the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Community Health contributed to the research.

Manning's research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (U19AI090872), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and MSU AgBioResearch.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rim Al Safadi, Galeb S. Abu-Ali, Rudolph E. Sloup, James T. Rudrik, Christopher M. Waters, Kathryn A. Eaton, Shannon D. Manning. Correlation between In Vivo Biofilm Formation and Virulence Gene Expression in Escherichia coli O104:H4. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (7): e41628 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041628

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Deadly E. coli strain decoded." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726121138.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2012, July 26). Deadly E. coli strain decoded. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726121138.htm
Michigan State University. "Deadly E. coli strain decoded." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726121138.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins