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Open AccessArticle

Antibiotic Resistance, Virulence Factors, Phenotyping, and Genotyping of E. coli Isolated from the Feces of Healthy Subjects

1
Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, via Campi 103, 41125, Modena, Italy
2
Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Via Massarenti 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy
3
Unit of Microbiology, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Via Massarenti 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy
4
Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Jamnikarjeva 101, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(8), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7080251
Received: 19 July 2019 / Revised: 31 July 2019 / Accepted: 7 August 2019 / Published: 10 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Gut Microbiota)
Escherichia coli may innocuously colonize the intestine of healthy subjects or may instigate infections in the gut or in other districts. This study investigated intestinal E. coli isolated from 20 healthy adults. Fifty-one strains were genotyped by molecular fingerprinting and analyzed for genetic and phenotypic traits, encompassing the profile of antibiotic resistance, biofilm production, the presence of surface structures (such as curli and cellulose), and their performance as recipients in conjugation experiments. A phylogroup classification and analysis of 34 virulence determinants, together with genes associated to the pks island (polyketide-peptide genotoxin colibactin) and conjugative elements, was performed. Most of the strains belonged to the phylogroups B1 and B2. The different phylogroups were separated in a principal coordinate space, considering both genetic and functional features, but not considering pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Within the B2 and F strains, 12 shared the pattern of virulence genes with potential uropathogens. Forty-nine strains were sensitive to all the tested antibiotics. Strains similar to the potential pathogens innocuously inhabited the gut of healthy subjects. However, they may potentially act as etiologic agents of extra-intestinal infections and are susceptible to a wide range of antibiotics. Nevertheless, there is still the possibility to control infections with antibiotic therapy. View Full-Text
Keywords: Escherichia coli; typing; gut microbiota; PFGE (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis); virulence; antibiotic resistance; conjugation; curli; co-occurrence Escherichia coli; typing; gut microbiota; PFGE (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis); virulence; antibiotic resistance; conjugation; curli; co-occurrence
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MDPI and ACS Style

Raimondi, S.; Righini, L.; Candeliere, F.; Musmeci, E.; Bonvicini, F.; Gentilomi, G.; Starčič Erjavec, M.; Amaretti, A.; Rossi, M. Antibiotic Resistance, Virulence Factors, Phenotyping, and Genotyping of E. coli Isolated from the Feces of Healthy Subjects. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 251.

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