Skip to comments.DNA Sequence Yields Clues to Germany's 'Super Toxic' E. coli outbreak
Posted on 06/02/2011 4:18:36 PM PDT by neverdem
Just from the high number of deaths and severe cases, scientists and public health experts battling Germany's massive E. coli outbreak knew they were up against something unusual. Now, early results from sequencing projects of the enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) strain appear to confirm that a never-before-seen hybrid, combining the worst of several bacterial strains, is causing the havoc.
The Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), in Shenzhen, China—which today announced that it has sequenced the microbe's entire 5.2-million-base-pair genome—says that its acquisition of several virulence genes make this EHEC strain "supertoxic."
The outbreak, which has caused mayhem in European trade relations, is still growing; so far, more than 16 patients have died. The origin of the microbe remains a riddle; cucumbers from Spain, originally fingered as the potential source, were acquitted on Tuesday and have not been replaced by other suspects. All researchers know is that raw vegetables are the most likely carrier.
Scientific results announced in two press releases today—both also intended to tout the extraordinary speed of today's sequencing technology—suggest that within the microbe's DNA lie clues to its aggressive nature.
The second came from Life Technologies Corporation, which manufactures so-called third-generation sequencing machines. Today, the company announced that sequencing at its lab in Darmstadt, Germany, in collaboration with the nearby University of Münster, "strongly suggests that the bacterium … is a new hybrid type of pathogenic E. coli strains." Spokespeople for the company in the United States and Germany could not provide details today. "Further analyses on Ion PGMT"—the company's flagship sequencing machine—"will confirm [the] data," the press release promised.
BGI, meanwhile, says that the microbe's genome—which it says took just 3 days to sequence, also using Life Technologies equipment—reveals that it shares 93% of its sequence with EAEC 55989 E. coli, a strain isolated in the Central African Republic and known to cause serious diarrhea. It appears to have acquired several genes that make it more pathogenic, however, probably in a process called horizontal gene transfer, by which microbes exchange bits of genetic information.
In an e-mail to ScienceInsider, Yang Bicheng, director of BGI's marketing department, wrote that one gene fragment appears to have come from another food-borne pathogen, Salmonella enterica, while other genes are highly homologous to those found in other, phylogenetically distinct E. coli strains, including a strain called O25:H4-ST131.
BGI, which has made the sequence available for researchers to download, says the analysis also confirmed that the microbe is resistant to many antibiotics. These include aminoglycoside, the macrolides, and the beta-lactams—"all of which makes antibiotic treatment extremely difficult," according to the press release. However, German EHEC patients aren't treated with antibiotics; most scientists believe they make matters worse, because killing EHEC results in the release of more toxin.
Yang acknowledged that finding the resistance genes may not be clinically relevant, but says they may help understand how the strain arose. "The evolutionary process … of this very strange hybrid strain may be a very interesting scientific story," Yang wrote in his e-mail.
Microbial genomicist Frederick Blattner of the University of Wisconsin, Madison—who worked for almost 15 years to sequence the first E. coli strain and finished in 1997—says the results have to be considered preliminary; it's not clear whether BGI assembled the entire genome from its sequenced pieces, he notes, and usually in such efforts, a number of stretches need to be resequenced. Still, "they did this at an amazing speed, and it looks like they found some very intriguing information," Blattner says.
Does Libya have a bioweapons program?
Maybe they can find out which lethal ‘migrant’ took this dump onto the produce and killed so many.
“Does Libya have a bioweapons program?”
No but there’s a lot of ultra rich people signed up to a depopulation program.
It doesn't get any weirder than that.
Wash your vegetables.
Cooking them helps also.
from the beginning of Agricultural Farming - people harvesting crops in the field do their business.
Read Lenny Bruce “How To Talk Dirty, and Influence People” about his time in the fields with the old Polish women.
He said he ALWAYS washes his vegetables. Thoroughly.
They “did” have bioweapons in Libya although I am torn between that and the sub African Continent “illegal” pooping on the agriculture field.
Mexmigrants have been doing this for years in CA.
I have been washing my fruits and veggies since 1977 as a former SoCal resident.
It probably has nothing to do with Germany’s love of coprophagia and coprophagic pornography. Yeah, nothing to do with that.
That is well sought after advice for Mr Bruce
I had to look that up. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww!
Germ warfare? If Libya did this they should face the fury of Franco-Anglo Nukes—Tripoli should cease to exist. If it works in Europe—we will face it here soon.
” we will face it here soon. “
Three suspected cases of mystery e-coli in US
This whole thing just raises the hair on the back of my neck...
Sounds like this E-coli might have designer genes.
>> “Cooking them helps also.” <<
That’s a fact!
The current crunchy broccoli fad is probably responsible for much of this stuff. And all they have to do is wash it in H2O2 solution, like the raw milk daries do with all their hardware.
I just bought a case of 35% H2O2 last week. Pricey now, but well worth the peace of mind.
“No but theres a lot of ultra rich people signed up to a depopulation program.”
Georgia Guidestones. A population of five million led by ‘Wise Elders’ who set up a Utopia on the backs of billions of dead.