U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Infection And Immunity, 71(11): Nov. 2003, P. 6526–6533


We compared the pathogenicity of intimin-negative non-O157:H7 Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O91:H21 and O104:H21 strains with the pathogenicity of intimin-positive O157:H7 and O157:H- strains in neonatal pigs. We also examined the role of Stx2d-activatable genes and the large hemolysinencoding plasmid of O91:H21 strain B2F1 in the pathogenesis of STEC disease in pigs. We found that all E. coli strains that made wild-type levels of Stx caused systemic illness and histological lesions in the brain and intestinal crypts, whereas none of the control Stx-negative E. coli strains evoked comparable central nervous system signs or intestinal lesions. By contrast, the absence of intimin, hemolysin, or motility had little impact on the overall pathogenesis of systemic disease during STEC infection. The most striking differences between pigs inoculated with non-O157 STEC strains and pigs inoculated with O157 STEC strains were the absence of attaching and effacing intestinal lesions in pigs inoculated with non-O157:H7 strains and the apparent association between the level of Stx2d-activatable toxin produced by an STEC strain and the severity of lesions.