Indexed on: 23 Jul '09Published on: 23 Jul '09Published in: BMC Microbiology
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) produce attaching/effacing (A/E) lesions on eukaryotic cells mediated by the outer membrane adhesin intimin. EPEC are sub-grouped into typical (tEPEC) and atypical (aEPEC). We have recently demonstrated that aEPEC strain 1551-2 (serotype O non-typable, non-motile) invades HeLa cells by a process dependent on the expression of intimin sub-type omicron. In this study, we evaluated whether aEPEC strains expressing other intimin sub-types are also invasive using the quantitative gentamicin protection assay. We also evaluated whether aEPEC invade differentiated intestinal T84 cells.Five of six strains invaded HeLa and T84 cells in a range of 13.3%-20.9% and 5.8%-17.8%, respectively, of the total cell-associated bacteria. The strains studied were significantly more invasive than prototype tEPEC strain E2348/69 (1.4% and 0.5% in HeLa and T84 cells, respectively). Invasiveness was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. We also showed that invasion of HeLa cells by aEPEC 1551-2 depended on actin filaments, but not on microtubules. In addition, disruption of tight junctions enhanced its invasion efficiency in T84 cells, suggesting preferential invasion via a non-differentiated surface.Some aEPEC strains may invade intestinal cells in vitro with varying efficiencies and independently of the intimin sub-type.