Enteroinvasive Escherichia coli O96:H19 is an Emergent Biofilm- Forming Pathogen

Junaid Iqbal, Niharika Malviya, Jennifer A. Gaddy, Chengxian Zhang, Andrew J. Seier, Kathryn P. Haley, Ryan S. Doster, Ana E. Farfan-Garcia, Oscar G. Gomez-Duarte

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC) is a diarrheagenic E. coli pathotype carrying a virulence plasmid that encodes a type III secretion system (TTSS) directly implicated in bacterial cell invasion. Since 2012, EIEC serotype O96:H19 has been recognized in Europe, Colombia, and most recently Uruguay. In addition to the invasion phenotype, the strains isolated from Colombian children with moderate-to-severe gastroenteritis had a strong biofilm formation phenotype, and as a result, they are referred to as biofilm-forming enteroinvasive E. coli (BF-EIEC). The objective of this study was to characterize the biofilm formation phenotype of the BF-EIEC O96:H19 strain 52.1 isolated from a child with moderate-to-severe gastroenteritis in Colombia. Random mutagenesis using Tn5 transposons identified 100 mutants unable to form biofilm; 20 of those had mutations within the pgaABCD operon. Site-directed mutagenesis of pgaB and pgaC confirmed the importance of these genes in N-acetylglucosamine- mediated biofilm formation. Both biofilm formation and TTSS-mediated host cell invasion were associated with host cell damage on the basis of cytotoxic assays comparing the wild type, invasion gene mutants, and biofilm formation mutants. Multilocus sequence typing-based phylogenetic analysis showed that BFEIEC strain 52.1 does not cluster with classic EIEC serotype strains. Instead, BF-EIEC strain 52.1 clusters with EIEC serotype O96:H19 strains described in Europe and Uruguay. In conclusion, BF-EIEC O96:H19, an emerging pathogen associated with moderate-to-severe acute gastroenteritis in children under 5 years of age in Colombia, invades cells and has a strong biofilm formation capability. Both phenotypes are independently associated with in vitro cell cytotoxicity, and they may explain, at least in part, the higher disease severity reported in Europe and Latin America.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Escherichia coli
  • biofilm formation
  • children
  • diarrhea
  • emerging pathogen
  • enteroinvasive
  • enteroinvasive Escherichia coli


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