Characterization of Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Reveals Hybrid Isolates of Uropathogenic and Diarrheagenic (UPEC/DEC) E. coli

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(1) Background: Pathogenic Escherichia coli are divided into two groups: diarrheagenic (DEC) and extraintestinal pathogenic (ExPEC) E. coli. ExPEC causing urinary tract infections (UTIs) are termed uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) and are the most common cause of UTIs worldwide. (2) Methods: Here, we characterized 112 UPEC in terms of phylogroup, serotype, the presence of virulence factor-encoding genes, and antimicrobial resistance. (3) Results: The majority of the isolates were assigned into the phylogroup B2 (41.07%), and the serogroups O6 (12.5%) and O25 (8.9%) were the most frequent. Five hybrid UPEC (4.5%), with markers from two DEC pathotypes, i.e., atypical enteropathogenic (aEPEC) and enteroaggregative (EAEC) E. coli, were identified, and designated UPEC/aEPEC (one isolate) and UPEC/EAEC (four isolates), respectively. Three UPEC/EAEC harbored genes from the pap operon, and the UPEC/aEPEC carried ibeA. The highest resistance rates were observed for ampicillin (46.4%) and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (34.8%), while 99.1% of the isolates were susceptible to nitrofurantoin and/or fosfomycin. Moreover, 9.8% of the isolates were identified as Extended Spectrum β-Lactamase producers, including one hybrid UPEC/EAEC. (4) Conclusion: Our data reinforce that hybrid UPEC/DEC are circulating in the city of Botucatu, Brazil, as uropathogens. However, how and whether these combinations of genes influence their pathogenicity is a question that remains to be elucidated.




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Microorganisms, v. 10, n. 3, 2022.

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