Serotype O18 avian pathogenic and neonatal meningitis Escherichia coli strains employ similar pathogenic strategies for the onset of meningitis.

Krishnan, Subramanian; Chang, Alexander C.; Hodges, Jacqueline; Couraud, Pierre-Olivier; Romero, Ignacio A.; Weksler, Babette; Nicholson, Bryon A.; Nolan, Lisa K. and Prasadarao, Nemani V. (2015). Serotype O18 avian pathogenic and neonatal meningitis Escherichia coli strains employ similar pathogenic strategies for the onset of meningitis. Virulence, 6(8) pp. 777–786.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/21505594.2015.1091914

Abstract

Neonatal meningitis Escherichia coli K1 (NMEC) are thought to be transmitted from mothers to newborns during delivery or by nosocomial infections. However, the source of E. coli K1 causing these infections is not clear. Avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC) have the potential to cause infection in humans while human E. coli have potential to cause colibacillosis in poultry, suggesting that these strains may lack host specificity. APEC strains are capable of causing meningitis in newborn rats; however, it is unclear whether these bacteria use similar mechanisms to that of NMEC to establish disease. Using four representative APEC and NMEC strains that belong to serotype 018, we demonstrate that these strains survive in human serum similar to that of the prototypic NMEC strain E44, a derivative of RS218. These bacteria also bind and enter both macrophages and human cerebral microvascular endothelial cells (HCMEC/D3) with similar frequency as that of E44. The amino acid sequences of the outer membrane protein A (OmpA), an important virulence factor in the pathogenesis of meningitis, are identical within these representative APEC and NMEC strains. Further, these strains also require FcγRI-α chain (CD64) and Ecgp96 as receptors for OmpA in macrophages and HCMEC/D3, respectively, to bind and enter these cells. APEC and NMEC strains induce meningitis in newborn mice with varying degree of pathology in the brains as assessed by neutrophil recruitment and neuronal apoptosis. Together, these results suggest that serotype O18 APEC strains utilize similar pathogenic mechanisms as those of NMEC strains in causing meningitis.

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