Sequence of the Escherichia coli O26 O antigen gene cluster and identification of O26 specific genes

Gene. 2002 Sep 4;297(1-2):123-7. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(02)00876-4.


Escherichia coli associated with outbreaks of gastroenteritis and hemolytic uremic syndrome include clones with O antigens O157 and O111. However, O26 has emerged as an O antigen present in pathogenic strains, particularly those implicated in cases of infantile gastroenteritis worldwide. The O26 O antigen gene cluster was sequenced. It was found to contain the genes expected for biosynthesis of nucleotide sugars L-rhamnose, N-acetyl-L-fucosamine and N-acetyl-glucosamine, as well genes for O unit flippase, O antigen polymerase and potential transferase genes. By polymerase chain reaction testing against representative strains for the 166 Escherichia coli O serogroups and some randomly selected Gram-negative bacteria, we identified three O antigen genes that are highly specific to O26. This work provides the basis for a sensitive test for the rapid detection of pathogenic clones with the O26 antigen, which has implications for public health, especially in the control of food-borne outbreaks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family / genetics*
  • O Antigens / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Transferases / genetics


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • O Antigens
  • Transferases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF529080