The Genetics of Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli Virulence

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In many parts of the world, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) are a leading cause of death in children with diarrhea. Much of what we know about the pathogenesis of EPEC infections is based on the study of one or two prototypic strains that have provided deep insight into the precise mechanisms by which EPEC colonizes the intestine, evades host immunity, and spreads from person to person. In some cases, defining the biochemical activity of the host-interacting effector proteins from these prototypic strains has led to the discovery of novel post-translational protein modifications and new understandings of biology and host-pathogen interactions. However, genomic analysis of recent EPEC isolates has revealed that the EPEC pathotype is more diverse than previously appreciated. Although by definition all strains carry the locus of enterocyte effacement, the effector repertoires of different clonal groups are quite divergent, suggesting that there is still a great deal to learn about the genetic basis of EPEC virulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-513
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Effector-mediated immunity
  • EPEC
  • Genomics
  • Immune evasion
  • T3SS effector

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