, Volume 279, Issue 5, pp 523-534,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 04 Mar 2008

Transcriptomics and adaptive genomics of the asymptomatic bacteriuria Escherichia coli strain 83972


Escherichia coli strains are the major cause of urinary tract infections in humans. Such strains can be divided into virulent, UPEC strains causing symptomatic infections, and asymptomatic, commensal-like strains causing asymptomatic bacteriuria, ABU. The best-characterized ABU strain is strain 83972. Global gene expression profiling of strain 83972 has been carried out under seven different sets of environmental conditions ranging from laboratory minimal medium to human bladders. The data reveal highly specific gene expression responses to different conditions. A number of potential fitness factors for the human urinary tract could be identified. Also, presence/absence data of the gene expression was used as an adaptive genomics tool to model the gene pool of 83972 using primarily UPEC strain CFT073 as a scaffold. In our analysis, 96% of the transcripts filtered present in strain 83972 can be found in CFT073, and genes on six of the seven pathogenicity islands were expressed in 83972. Despite the very different patient symptom profiles, the two strains seem to be very similar. Genes expressed in CFT073 but not in 83972 were identified and can be considered as virulence factor candidates. Strain 83972 is a deconstructed pathogen rather than a commensal strain that has acquired fitness properties.

Communicated by D. Andersson.