16 Mar 11 How pathogenic E Coli bacterium causes illness
Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, have shown how the O157:H7 strain of Escherichia coli causes infection and thrives by manipulating the host immune response.
While most E. coli strains help check the growth of harmful bacteria in the guts of animals and humans, a few E. coli strains, such as O157:H7, can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps and, in rare cases, death. Human cases of E. coli O157:H7 have been linked to consumption of raw, undercooked, or spoiled meat.
NIAID researchers plan to use the new information to further study how the host immune system mounts a response to E. coli O157:H7 when infection begins and how the bacterium selectively blocks these defenses. Several foodborne pathogens, including Shigella and Salmonella, use a similar secretion system to disrupt host immune responses and infect gut cells.
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
- Fengyi Wan, Amanda Weaver, Xiaofei Gao, Michael Bern, Philip R Hardwidge, Michael J Lenardo. IKKβ phosphorylation regulates RPS3 nuclear translocation and NF-κB function during infection with Escherichia coli strain O157:H7. Nature Immunology, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/ni.2007