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Open Access Research article

The Escherichia coli O157:H7 bovine rumen fluid proteome reflects adaptive bacterial responses

Indira T Kudva1*, Thaddeus B Stanton1 and John D Lippolis2

Author Affiliations

1 Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ames, Iowa 50010, USA

2 Ruminant Diseases and Immunology Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ames, Iowa 50010, USA

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BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:48  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-48

Published: 21 February 2014

Abstract

Background

To obtain insights into Escherichia coli O157:H7 (O157) survival mechanisms in the bovine rumen, we defined the growth characteristics and proteome of O157 cultured in rumen fluid (RF; pH 6.0-7.2 and low volatile fatty acid content) obtained from rumen-fistulated cattle fed low protein content “maintenance diet” under diverse in vitro conditions.

Results

Bottom-up proteomics (LC-MS/MS) of whole cell-lysates of O157 cultured under anaerobic conditions in filter-sterilized RF (fRF; devoid of normal ruminal microbiota) and nutrient-depleted and filtered RF (dRF) resulted in an anaerobic O157 fRF-and dRF-proteome comprising 35 proteins functionally associated with cell structure, motility, transport, metabolism and regulation, but interestingly, not with O157 virulence. Shotgun proteomics-based analysis using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation used to further study differential protein expression in unfiltered RF (uRF; RF containing normal rumen microbial flora) complemented these results.

Conclusions

Our results indicate that in the rumen, the first anatomical compartment encountered by this human pathogen within the cattle gastrointestinal tract (GIT), O157 initiates a program of specific gene expression that enables it to adapt to the in vivo environment, and successfully transit to its colonization sites in the bovine GIT. Further experiments in vitro using uRF from animals fed different diets and with additional O157 strains, and in vivo using rumen-fistulated cattle will provide a comprehensive understanding of the adaptive mechanisms involved, and help direct evolution of novel modalities for blocking O157 infection of cattle.

Keywords:
O157; Rumen; LC-MS/MS; iTRAQ; Proteome; Growth-patterns