Image_2_Amino Acid Substitutions and Differential Gene Expression of Outer Membrane Proteins in Adherent-Invasive Escherichia coli.tif

Variations in the sequence and/or the expression of outer membrane proteins (OMPs) may modulate bacterial virulence. OmpA and OmpC have been involved in the interaction of adherent-invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC) strain LF82 with intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). Scarce data exist about OMPs sequence variants in a collection of AIEC strains, and no study of OMPs expression during infection exists. We aimed to determine whether particular mutations or differential expression of OMPs are associated with AIEC virulence. The ompA, ompC, and ompF genes in 14 AIEC and 30 non-AIEC strains were sequenced by Sanger method, and the protein expression profile was analyzed by urea-SDS-PAGE. Gene expression was determined during in vitro bacterial infection of intestine-407 cells by RT-qPCR. The distribution of amino acid substitutions in OmpA-A200V, OmpC-S89N, V220I, and W231D associated with pathotype and specific changes (OmpA-A200V, OmpC-V220I, D232A, OmpF-E51V, and M60K) correlated with adhesion and/or invasion indices but no particular variants were found specific of AIEC. OMPs protein levels did not differ according to pathotype when growing in Mueller-Hinton broth. Interestingly, higher OMPs gene expression levels were reported in non-AIEC growing in association with cells compared with those non-AIEC strains growing in the supernatants of infected cultures (p < 0.028), whereas in AIEC strains ompA expression was the only increased when growing in association with cells (p = 0.032), but they did not significantly alter ompC and ompF expression under this condition (p > 0.146). Despite no particular OMPs sequence variants have been found as a common and distinctive trait in AIEC, some mutations could facilitate a better interaction with the host. Moreover, the different behavior between pathotypes regarding OMPs gene expression at different stages of infection could be related with the virulence of the strains.