International Microbiology, Vol 9, No 1 (2006)

Serotypes, virulence genes, and PFGE patterns of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli isolated from Cuban pigs with diarrhea

Miguel Blanco, Leonel Lazo, Jesús E. Blanco, Ghizlane Dahbi, Azucena Mora, Cecilia López, Enrique A. González, Jorge Blanco


Thirty-six enteropathogenic Escherichia coli strains isolated from Cuban pigs with diarrhea were serotyped and screened by PCR for the presence of virulence genes. The 36 isolates belonged to 11 O serogroups and 14 O:H serotypes, with 53% of the isolates belonging to only two serotypes: O141:H– (13 isolates) and O157:H19 (6 isolates). Genes coding for STb, STa, VT2e, and LT toxins were identified in 69, 61, 53, and 6% of the isolates, respectively. The most prevalent fimbrial adhesin was F18, detected in 22 (61%) isolates. The gene encoding F6 (P987) colonization factor was identified in three (8%) isolates. None of the 36 isolates assayed contained genes encoding F4 (K88), F5 (K99), or F41. The seropathotype O141:H–:STa/STb/VT2e/F18 (13 isolates) was the most frequently detected, followed by O157:H19:VT2e/F18 (5 isolates). A genetic diversity study, carried out by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of 24 representative isolates, revealed 21 distinct restriction patterns clustered in 18 groups (I–XVIII). Isolates of the same serotype were placed together in a dendrogram, but isolates of serotype O157:H19 showed a high degree of polymorphism. The results of this study demonstrate the presence in Cuba of different clusters among one of the most prevalent serotypes isolated from pigs with diarrhea. Further experiments are needed to determine whether some of these clusters have appeared recently; if so, their evolution, as well as their possible association with pathogenicity in farms should be studied. [Int Microbiol 2006; 9(1):53-60]

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