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J Vet Sci 2018; 19(2): 251-259  https://doi.org/10.4142/jvs.2018.19.2.251
Pathogenic and phylogenetic characteristics of non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli isolates from retail meats in South Korea
June Bong Lee1, Dalmuri Han1, Hyung Tae Lee1, Seon Mi Wi1, Jeong Hoon Park1, Jung-woo Jo1, Young-Jae Cho1, Tae-Wook Hahn1, Sunjin Lee2, Byunghak Kang2, Hyo Sun Kwak2, Jonghyun Kim2,*, Jang Won Yoon1,*
1College of Veterinary Medicine & Institute of Veterinary Science, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea
2Division of Enteric Diseases, Centers for Infectious Diseases, National Research Institute of Health, Cheongju 28159, Korea
Correspondence to: Tel: +82-33-250-8791; Fax: +82-33-259-5625; E-mails: jwy706@kangwon.ac.kr (JW Yoon), micro487@hanmail.net (J Kim)
Received: June 1, 2017; Revised: September 25, 2017; Accepted: November 24, 2017; Published online: March 31, 2018.
Herein, we report the pathogenic and phylogenetic characteristics of seven Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) isolates from 434 retail meats collected in Korea during 2006 to 2012. The experimental analyses revealed that all isolates (i) were identified as non-O157 STEC, including O91:H14 (3 isolates), O121:H10 (2 isolates), O91:H21 (1 isolate), and O18:H20 (1 isolate), (ii) carried diverse Stx subtype genes (stx1, stx2c, stx2e, or stx1 + stx2b) whose expression levels varied strain by strain, and (iii) lacked the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island, a major virulence factor of STEC, but they possessed one or more alternative virulence genes encoding cytotoxins (Cdt and SubAB) and/or adhesins (Saa, Iha, and EcpA). Notably, a significant heterogeneity in glutamate-induced acid resistance was observed among the STEC isolates (p < 0.05). In addition, phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that all three STEC O91:H14 isolates were categorized into sequence type (ST) 33, of which two beef isolates were identical in their pulsotypes. Similar results were observed with two O121:H10 pork isolates (ST641; 88.2% similarity). Interestingly, 96.0% of the 100 human STEC isolates collected in Korea during 2003 to 2014 were serotyped as O91:H14, and the ST33 lineage was confirmed in approximately 72.2% (13/18 isolates) of human STEC O91:H14 isolates from diarrheal patients.
Keywords: Korea, Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli, retail meat, sequence type, virulence factors

© 2018 The Korean Society of Veterinary Science.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.