(commonly abbreviated E. coli
) is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms). Most E. coli
strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans.
The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, and by preventing the establishment of pathogenic bacteria within the intestine.
and related bacteria constitute about 0.1% of gut flora, and fecal-oral transmission is the major route through which pathogenic strains of the bacterium cause disease.
Certain strains of E. coli
, such as O157:H7, O104:H4, O121, O26, O103, O111, O145
, produce potentially lethal toxins. Food poisoning caused by E. coli
can result from eating unwashed vegetables or undercooked meat. O157:H7
is also notorious
for causing serious and even life-threatening complications such as hemolytic-uremic syndrome
. The O104:H4
strain is equally virulent. It is the strain behind the ongoing and deadly June 2011 E. coli
outbreak in Europe.
Enteric E. coli
(EC) are classified on the basis of serological characteristics and virulence properties:
- Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC)
- Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC)
- Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC)
- Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC)
- Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC)
Urinary tract infection
Uropathogenic E. coli
(UPEC) is responsible for approximately 90% of urinary tract infections (UTI)
seen in individuals with ordinary anatomy.
In ascending infections, fecal bacteria colonize the urethra and spread up the urinary tract to the bladder as well as to the kidneys (causing pyelonephritis), or the prostate in males.
Because women have a shorter urethra than men, they are 14 times more likely to suffer from an ascending UTI. Uropathogenic E. coli
use P fimbriae
to bind urinary tract endothelial cells and colonize the bladder. Uropathogenic E. coli
produce alpha- and beta-hemolysins, which cause lysis of urinary tract cells.
It is produced by a serotype of Escherichia coli
that contains a capsular antigen
. The colonisation of the newborn's intestines with these stems,
that are present in the mother's vagina, lead to bacteraemia, which leads to meningitis. And because of the absence of the IgM antibodies from the mother
(these do not cross the placenta because FcRn only mediates the transfer of IgG), plus the fact that the body recognises as self the K1 antigen, as it resembles the cerebral glicopeptides, this leads to a severe meningitis in the neonates.
Abbreviated from Wikipedia.