Interaction of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli with salad leaves

Cedric N Berger, Robert K Shaw, Fernando Ruiz-Perez, James P Nataro, Ian R Henderson, Mark J Pallen, Gad Frankel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) are important human pathogens. However, their environmental reservoir is unknown. As fresh salad leaves are increasingly recognized as an important environmental vector for human pathogens, we investigated leaf attachment capability of EAEC strains. We found that binding of clinical EAEC isolates to leaves from Eruca vesicaria (commonly known as rocket or arugula) can be divided into high, moderate and low adherent phenotypes. Using the prototype EAEC strain 042 to investigate the underlining mechanisms involved in leaf attachment, we found small attached bacterial aggregates over the entire leaf surface and dense bacterial attachment to the guard cell of the stomata. An aaf 042 mutant lost the ability to bind the epidermis while retaining stomatal adherence. In contrast, a fliC 042 mutant retained the ability to bind the epidermis but lost stomatal tropism. These results show that multiple adherence factors are involved in the interaction of EAEC with leaves, that EAEC uses similar colonization factors to bind mucosal and leaf surfaces and that fresh produce might be an important reservoir of EAEC strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-239
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


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