Clonal relationships among bloodstream isolates of Escherichia coli

J. N. Maslow, T. S. Whittam, C. F. Gilks, R. A. Wilson, M. E. Mulligan, K. S. Adams, R. D. Arbeit

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61 Scopus citations


The clonal relationships among 187 bloodstream isolates of Escherichia coli from 179 patients at Boston, Mass., Long Beach, Calif., and Nairobi, Kenya, were determined by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE), analysis of polymorphisms associated with the ribosomal operon (ribotyping), and serotyping. MLEE based on 20 enzymes resolved 101 electrophoretic types (ETs), forming five clusters; ribotyping resolved 56 distinct patterns concordant with the analysis by MLEE. The isolates at each study site formed a genetically diverse group and demonstrated similar clonal structures, with the same small subset of lineages accounting for the majority of isolates at each site. Moreover, two ribotypes accounted for ~30% of the isolates at each study site. One cluster contained the majority (65%) of isolates and, by direct comparison of the ETs and ribotypes of individual isolates, was genetically indistinguishable from the largest cluster for each of two other collections of E. coli causing pyelonephritis and neonatal meningitis (R. K. Selander, T. K. Korhonen, V. Vaisanen-Rhen, P. H. Williams, P. E. Pattison, and D. A. Caugent, Infect. Immun. 52:213-222, 1986; M. Arthur, C. E. Johnson, R. H. Rubin, R. D. Arbeit, C. Campanelli, C. Kim, S. Steinbach, M. Agarwal, R. Wilkinson, and R. Goldstein, Infect. Immun. 57:303-313, 1989), thus defining a virulent set of lineages. The isolates within these virulent lineages typically carried DNA homologous to the adhesin operon pap or sfa and the hemolysin operon hly and expressed O1, O2, O4, O6, O18, O5, or O75 antigens. DNA homologous to pap was distributed among isolates of each major cluster, whereas hly was restricted to isolates of two clusters, typically detected in pap-positive strains, and sfa was restricted to isolates of one cluster, typically detected in pap- and hly-positive strains. The occurrence of pap-positive isolates in the same geographically and genetically divergent lineages suggests that this operon was acquired early in the radiation of E. coli, while hly and sfa were acquired subsequently, most likely by pap- positive and pap- and hly-positive precursors, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2409-2417
Number of pages9
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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