U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



PNAS (2006), 103(25), p. 9667-9672. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0602359103


Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) 0157:H7 is a food-borne pathogen that can cause bloody diarrhea and, occasionally, acute renal failure as a consequence of Shiga toxin (Stx) production by the organism. Stxs are potent cytotoxins that are lethal to animals at low doses. Thus, Stxs not only harm the host but, as reported here, also significantly enhance the capacity of EHEC O157:H7 to adhere to epithelial cells and to colonize the intestines of mice. Tissue culture experiments showed that this toxin-mediated increase in bacterial adherence correlated with an Stx-evoked increase in a eukaryotic receptor for the EHEC O157:H7 attachment factor intimin.