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HlyA knock out yields a safer Escherichia coli A0 34/86 variant with unaffected colonization capacity in piglets

Sheshko V, Hejnova J, Rehakova Z, Sinkora J, Faldyna M, Alexa P, Felsberg J, Nemcova R, Bomba A, Sebo P

Escherichia coli A0 34/86 (O83:K24:H31) has been successfully used for prophylactic and therapeutic intestinal colonization of premature and newborn infants, with the aim of preventing nosocomial infections. Although E. coli A0 34/86 was described as a nonpathogenic commensal, partial sequencing revealed that its genome harbours gene clusters highly homologous to virulence determinants of different types of E. coli, including closely linked genes of the alpha-haemolysin operon (hlyCABD) and for the cytotoxic necrotizing factor (cnf1). A haemolysin-deficient mutant (Delta hlyA) of E. coli A0 34/86 was generated and its colonization capacity was determined. The results show that a single dose of the A0 34/86 wild-type or Delta hlyA strains resulted in efficient intestinal colonization of newborn conventional piglets, and that this was still considerable after several weeks. No difference was observed between the wild-type and the mutant strains, showing that haemolysin expression does not contribute to intestinal colonization capacity of E. coli A0 34/86. Safety experiments revealed that survival of colostrum-deprived gnotobiotic newborn piglets was substantially higher upon colonization by the nonhaemolytic strain than following inoculation by its wild-type ancestor. We suggest that the E. coli A0 34/86 Delta hlyA mutant may represent a safer prophylactic and/or immunomodulatory tool with unaffected colonization capacity

Fems Immunology and Medical Microbiology 48, 2006, 257-266


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