Print E-mail
Volume 51, Number 4, August 2018

Isolation, genotyping and antimicrobial resistance of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli 

Bianca A. Amézquita-López, Marcela Soto-Beltrán, Bertram G. Lee, Jaszemyn C. Yambao, Beatriz Quiñones


Background and purpose: 

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is an enteric pathogen linked to outbreaks of human gastroenteritis with diverse clinical spectra. In this review, we have examined the currently methodologies and molecular characterization techniques for assessing the phenotypic, genotypic and functional characteristics of STEC O157 and non-O157. In particular, traditional culture and isolation methods, including selective enrichment and differential plating, have enabled the effective recovery of STEC. Following recovery, immunological serotyping of somatic surface antigens (O-antigens) and flagellum (H-antigens) are employed for the classification of the STEC isolates. Molecular genotyping methods, including multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis, arrays, and whole genome sequencing, can discriminate the isolate virulence profile beyond the serotype level. Virulence profiling is focused on the identification of chromosomal and plasmid genes coding for adhesins, cytotoxins, effectors, and hemolysins to better assess the pathogenic potential of the recovered STEC isolates. Important animal reservoirs are cattle and other small domestic ruminants. STEC can also be recovered from other carriers, such as mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, shellfish and insects. Finally, antimicrobial resistance in STEC is a matter of growing concern, supporting the need to monitor the use of these agents by private, public and agricultural sectors. Certain antimicrobials can induce Shiga toxin production and thus promote the onset of severe disease symptoms in humans. Together, this information will provide a better understanding of risks associated with STEC and will aid in the development of efficient and targeted intervention strategies. 


Key words:

Antimicrobials, Escherichia coli, Food safety, Genotyping, Zoonosis