The evolutionary path to extraintestinal pathogenic, drug-resistant Escherichia coli is marked by drastic reduction in detectable recombination within the core genome

Genome Biol Evol. 2013;5(4):699-710. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evt038.


Escherichia coli is a highly diverse group of pathogens ranging from commensal of the intestinal tract, through to intestinal pathogen, and extraintestinal pathogen. Here, we present data on the population diversity of E. coli, using Bayesian analysis to identify 13 distinct clusters within the population from multilocus sequence typing data, which map onto a whole-genome-derived phylogeny based on 62 genome sequences. Bayesian analysis of recombination within the core genome identified reduction in detectable core genome recombination as one moves from the commensals, through the intestinal pathogens down to the multidrug-resistant extraintestinal pathogenic clone E. coli ST131. Our data show that the emergence of a multidrug-resistant, extraintestinal pathogenic lineage of E. coli is marked by substantial reduction in detectable core genome recombination, resulting in a lineage which is phylogenetically distinct and sexually isolated in terms of core genome recombination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Escherichia coli / classification
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny
  • Recombination, Genetic*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents