Pathogenic Escherichia coli

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2004 Feb;2(2):123-40. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro818.


Few microorganisms are as versatile as Escherichia coli. An important member of the normal intestinal microflora of humans and other mammals, E. coli has also been widely exploited as a cloning host in recombinant DNA technology. But E. coli is more than just a laboratory workhorse or harmless intestinal inhabitant; it can also be a highly versatile, and frequently deadly, pathogen. Several different E. coli strains cause diverse intestinal and extraintestinal diseases by means of virulence factors that affect a wide range of cellular processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Meningitis, Bacterial / etiology
  • Shiga Toxins / toxicity
  • Urinary Tract Infections / etiology
  • Virulence Factors


  • Shiga Toxins
  • Virulence Factors