Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version

December 2007


Published in Veterinary Microbiology (2008); doi 10.1016/j.vetmic.2007.12.018. Copyright © 2007 Elsevier B.V. Used by permission.


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) infections result in large economic losses in the swine industry worldwide. The organism causes diarrhea by adhering to and colonizing enterocytes in the small intestines. While much progress has been made in understanding the pathogenesis of ETEC, no homologous intestinal epithelial cultures suitable for studying porcine ETEC pathogenesis have been described prior to this report. In the current study, we investigated the adherence of various porcine ETEC strains to two porcine (IPEC-1 and IPEC-J2) and one human (INT-407) small intestinal epithelial cell lines. Each cell line was assessed for its ability to support the adherence of E. coli expressing fimbrial adhesins K88ab, K88ac, K88ad, K99, F41, 987P, and F18. Wild-type ETEC expressing K88ab, K88ac, and K88ad efficiently bound to both IPEC-1 and IPEC-J2 cells. An ETEC strain expressing both K99 and F41 bound heavily to both porcine cell lines but an E. coli strain expressing only K99 bound very poorly to these cells. E. coli expressing F18 adhesin strongly bound to IPEC-1 cells but did not adhere to IPEC-J2 cells. The E. coli strains G58-1 and 711 which express no fimbrial adhesins and those that express 987P fimbriae failed to bind to either porcine cell line. Only strains B41 and K12:K99 bound in abundance to INT-407 cells. The binding of porcine ETEC to IPEC-J2, IPEC-1 and INT-407 with varying affinities, together with lack of binding of 987P ETEC and non-fimbriated E. coli strains, suggests strain-specific E. coli binding to these cell lines. These findings suggest the potential usefulness of porcine intestinal cell lines for studying ETEC pathogenesis.