Genomic Epidemiology and Evolution of Escherichia coli in Wild Animals in Mexico

Robert Murphy, Martin Palm, Ville Mustonen, Jonas Warringer, Anne Farewell, Leopold Parts, Danesh Moradigaravand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Escherichia coli is a common bacterial species in the gastrointestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals and humans. Pathogenicity and antimicrobial resistance in E. coli may emerge via host switching from animal reservoirs. Despite its potential clin¬ical importance, knowledge of the population structure of commensal E. coli within wild hosts and the epidemiological links between E. coli in nonhuman hosts and E. coli in humans is still scarce. In this study, we analyzed the whole-genome sequencing data of a collection of 119 commensal E. coli strains recovered from the guts of 55 mammal and bird species in Mexico and Venezuela in the 1990s. We observed low concordance between the population structures of E. coli isolates colonizing wild ani¬mals and the phylogeny, taxonomy, and ecological and physiological attributes of the host species, with distantly related E. coli strains often colonizing the same or similar host species and distantly related host species often hosting closely related E. coli strains. We found no evidence for recent transmission of E. coli genomes from wild animals to either domesticated animals or humans. However, multiple livestock- and human-related virulence factor genes were present in E. coli of wild animals, including virulence factors characteristic of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (aEPEC), where several isolates from wild hosts harbored the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island. Moreover, E. coli isolates from wild animal hosts often harbored known antibiotic resistance determinants, includ¬ing those against ciprofloxacin, aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, and beta-lactams, with some determinants present in multiple, distantly related E. coli lineages colonizing very different host animals. We conclude that genome pools of E. coli colonizing the guts of wild animals and humans share virulence and antibiotic resistance genes, underscoring the idea that wild animals could serve as reservoirs for E. coli pathogenicity in human and livestock infections.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalmSphere
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-15

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