Functional analysis of colonization factor antigen I positive enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli identifies genes implicated in survival in water and host colonization

Microb Genom. 2021 Jun;7(6):000554. doi: 10.1099/mgen.0.000554.


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) expressing the colonization pili CFA/I are common causes of diarrhoeal infections in humans. Here, we use a combination of transposon mutagenesis and transcriptomic analysis to identify genes and pathways that contribute to ETEC persistence in water environments and colonization of a mammalian host. ETEC persisting in water exhibit a distinct RNA expression profile from those growing in richer media. Multiple pathways were identified that contribute to water survival, including lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis and stress response regulons. The analysis also indicated that ETEC growing in vivo in mice encounter a bottleneck driving down the diversity of colonizing ETEC populations.

Keywords: CFA/I; ETEC; H10407; RNAseq; TraDIS; water survival and colonization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli / growth & development*
  • Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Escherichia coli Infections
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fimbriae Proteins / genetics*
  • Fimbriae Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phenotype
  • Water
  • Water Microbiology*


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • colonization factor antigens
  • Water
  • Fimbriae Proteins