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Colonization factors among enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli isolates from children with moderate-to-severe diarrhea and from matched controls in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS)

Journal article
Authors R. M. Vidal
K. Muhsen
S. M. Tennant
Ann-Mari Svennerholm
S. O. Sow
D. Sur
A. K. M. Zaidi
A. S. G. Faruque
D. Saha
R. Adegbola
M. J. Hossain
P. L. Alonso
R. F. Breiman
Q. Bassat
B. Tamboura
D. Sanogo
U. Onwuchekwa
B. Manna
T. Ramamurthy
S. Kanungo
S. Ahmed
S. Qureshi
F. Quadri
A. Hossain
S. K. Das
M. Antonio
I. Mandomando
T. Nhampossa
S. Acacio
R. Omore
J. B. Ochieng
J. O. Oundo
E. D. Mintz
C. E. O'Reilly
L. Y. Berkeley
S. Livio
S. Panchalingam
D. Nasrin
T. H. Farag
Y. K. Wu
H. Sommerfelt
R. M. Robins-Browne
F. Del Canto
T. H. Hazen
D. A. Rasko
K. L. Kotloff
J. P. Nataro
M. M. Levine
Infection Ron J
V. P. Immunity
Infection Ron J
V. P. Immunity
Published in Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume 13
Issue 1
ISSN 1935-2735
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Language en
Keywords factor antigen-i, developing-countries, young-children, multiple, comparisons, immune-responses, regulatory gene, longus pilus, vaccine, infections, expression, Infectious Diseases, Parasitology, Tropical Medicine
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


Background Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) encoding heat-stable enterotoxin (ST) alone or with heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) cause moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) in developing country children. The Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) identified ETEC encoding ST among the top four enteropathogens. Since the GEMS objective was to provide evidence to guide development and implementation of enteric vaccines and other interventions to diminish diarrheal disease morbidity and mortality, we examined colonization factor (CF) prevalence among ETEC isolates from children age <5 years with MSD and from matched controls in four African and three Asian sites. We also assessed strength of association of specific CFs with MSD. Methodology/Principal findings MSD cases enrolled at healthcare facilities over three years and matched controls were tested in a standardized manner for many enteropathogens. To identify ETEC, three E. coli colonies per child were tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect genes encoding LT, ST; confirmed ETEC were examined by PCR for major CFs (Colonization Factor Antigen I [CFA/I] or Coli Surface [CS] antigens CS1-CS6) and minor CFs (CS7, CS12, CS13, CS14, CS17, CS18, CS19, CS20, CS21, CS30). ETEC from 806 cases had a single toxin/CF profile in three tested strains per child. Major CFs, components of multiple ETEC vaccine candidates, were detected in 66.0% of LT/ST and ST-only cases and were associated with MSD versus matched controls by conditional logistic regression (p0.006); major CFs detected in only 25.0% of LT-only cases weren't associated with MSD. ETEC encoding exclusively CS14, identified among 19.9% of 291 ST-only and 1.5% of 259 LT/ST strains, were associated with MSD (p = 0.0011). No other minor CF exhibited prevalence 5% and significant association with MSD. Conclusions/Significance Major CF-based efficacious ETEC vaccines could potentially prevent up to 66% of pediatric MSD cases due to ST-encoding ETEC in developing countries; adding CS14 extends coverage to similar to 77%. Author summary Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) were found to be one of the four most consistently important agents that cause moderate-to-severe diarrhea among children <5 years of age in a large case-control study, the Global Enteric Multicenter Study, performed in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa and three in South Asia. ETEC attach to the lining of the human small intestine by means of protein colonization factors (CFs), after which bacterial toxins stimulate intestinal secretion resulting in diarrhea. Moderate-to-severe diarrhea in young children in developing countries can lead to malnutrition and death. Vaccines are being developed to prevent ETEC diarrhea and its consequences. Several ETEC vaccines aim to stimulate antibodies (protective proteins) that will bind CFs and prevent the bacteria from attaching to intestinal cells, which should, in turn, prevent ETEC diarrhea. Different types of CFs exist. To guide the development of vaccines intending to provide broad protection against ETEC, one must know the frequency with which the different major CFs are produced by ETEC. This paper reports an extensive systematic survey of ETEC CFs and provides helpful information to guide the development of ETEC vaccines.

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