Nov 14, 2001

Induction of epithelial cell death including apoptosis by enteropathogenic Escherichia coli expressing bundle-forming pili

Infection and Immunity
M Abul-MilhDebora Barnett Foster


Infection with enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is a major cause of severe infantile diarrhea, particularly in parts of the developing world. The bundle-forming pilus (BFP) of EPEC is an established virulence factor encoded on the EPEC adherence factor plasmid (EAF) and has been implicated in both localized adherence to host cells and bacterial autoaggregation. We investigated the role of BFP in the ability of EPEC binding to kill host epithelial cells. BFP-expressing strains killed all three cell lines tested, comprising HEp-2 (laryngeal), HeLa (cervical), and Caco-2 (colonic) cells. Analysis of phosphatidylserine expression, internucleosomal cleavage of host cell DNA, and morphological changes detected by electron microscopy indicated evidence of apoptosis. The extent of cell death was significantly greater for BFP-expressing strains, including E2348/69, a wild-type clinical isolate, as well as for a laboratory strain, HB101, transformed with a bfp-carrying plasmid. Strains which did not express BFP induced significantly less cell death, including a bfpA disruptional mutant of E2348/69, EAF plasmid-cured E2348/69, HB101, and HB101 complemented with the locus of enterocyte effacement pathogenicity island. These results...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Alkalescens-Dispar Group
Apoptosis, Intrinsic Pathway
Squamous Transitional Epithelial Cell Count
Outer Membrane Lipoproteins, Bacterial
Cytokinesis of the Fertilized Ovum
Sex Pili Structural Proteins
Electron Microscopy, Diagnostic
Isolate compound

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Apoptosis is a specific process that leads to programmed cell death through the activation of an evolutionary conserved intracellular pathway leading to pathognomic cellular changes distinct from cellular necrosis