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Evolutionary and functional history of the Escherichia coli K1 capsule

Arredondo-Alonso, Sergio; Blundell-Hunter, George; Fu, Zuyi; Gladstone, Rebecca A; Fillol-Salom, Alfred; Loraine, Jessica; Cloutman-Green, Elaine; ... McCarthy, Alex J; + view all (2023) Evolutionary and functional history of the Escherichia coli K1 capsule. Nature Communications , 14 , Article 3294. 10.1038/s41467-023-39052-w. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Escherichia coli is a leading cause of invasive bacterial infections in humans. Capsule polysaccharide has an important role in bacterial pathogenesis, and the K1 capsule has been firmly established as one of the most potent capsule types in E. coli through its association with severe infections. However, little is known about its distribution, evolution and functions across the E. coli phylogeny, which is fundamental to elucidating its role in the expansion of successful lineages. Using systematic surveys of invasive E. coli isolates, we show that the K1-cps locus is present in a quarter of bloodstream infection isolates and has emerged in at least four different extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) phylogroups independently in the last 500 years. Phenotypic assessment demonstrates that K1 capsule synthesis enhances E. coli survival in human serum independent of genetic background, and that therapeutic targeting of the K1 capsule re-sensitizes E. coli from distinct genetic backgrounds to human serum. Our study highlights that assessing the evolutionary and functional properties of bacterial virulence factors at population levels is important to better monitor and predict the emergence of virulent clones, and to also inform therapies and preventive medicine to effectively control bacterial infections whilst significantly lowering antibiotic usage.

Type: Article
Title: Evolutionary and functional history of the Escherichia coli K1 capsule
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-39052-w
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-39052-w
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Bacterial genes, Bacterial genomics, Pathogens
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy > Pharmaceutics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10172178
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