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Open AccessArticle

Microarray-Based Screening of Differentially Expressed Genes of E. coli O157:H7 Sakai during Preharvest Survival on Butterhead Lettuce

Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Plant Sciences Unit—Crop Protection B. Van Gansberghelaan 96, Merelbeke B-9820, Belgium
Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Food Sciences Unit—Food Safety Brusselsesteenweg 370, Melle B-9090, Belgium
Ghent University (UGent), Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation, Coupure links 653, Ghent B-9000, Belgium
Ghent University (UGent), Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Poultry Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Salisburylaan 133, Merelbeke B-9820, Belgium
Ghent University (UGent), Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Laboratory of Microbiology, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, Ghent B-9000, Belgium
The James Hutton Institute, Cell and Molecular Sciences, Human and Animal Pathogens on Plants, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Pascal Delaquis and Susan Bach
Agriculture 2016, 6(1), 6;
Received: 12 October 2015 / Revised: 5 January 2016 / Accepted: 13 January 2016 / Published: 26 January 2016
Numerous outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 have been linked to the consumption of leafy vegetables. However, up to the present, little has been known about E. coli O157:H7’s adaptive responses to survival on actively growing (and thus responsive) plants. In this study, whole genome transcriptional profiles were generated from E. coli O157:H7 cells (isolate Sakai, stx-) one hour and two days after inoculation on the leaves of growing butterhead lettuce, and compared with an inoculum control. A total of 273 genes of E. coli O157:H7 Sakai (5.04% of the whole genome) were significantly induced or repressed by at least two-fold (p < 0.01) in at least one of the analyzed time points in comparison with the control. Several E. coli O157:H7 genes associated with oxidative stress and antimicrobial resistance were upregulated, including the iron-sulfur cluster and the multiple antibiotic resistance (mar) operon, whereas the Shiga toxin virulence genes were downregulated. Nearly 40% of the genes with significantly different expression were poorly characterized genes or genes with unknown functions. These genes are of special interest for future research as they may play an important role in the pathogens’ adaptation to a lifestyle on plants. In conclusion, these findings suggest that the pathogen actively interacts with the plant environment by adapting its metabolism and responding to oxidative stress. View Full-Text
Keywords: Escherichia coli O157:H7; lettuce; gene expression; preharvest Escherichia coli O157:H7; lettuce; gene expression; preharvest
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Van der Linden, I.; Cottyn, B.; Uyttendaele, M.; Vlaemynck, G.; Heyndrickx, M.; Maes, M.; Holden, N. Microarray-Based Screening of Differentially Expressed Genes of E. coli O157:H7 Sakai during Preharvest Survival on Butterhead Lettuce. Agriculture 2016, 6, 6.

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