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Day-to-day dynamics of commensal Escherichia coli in Zimbabwean cows evidence temporal fluctuations within a host-specific population structure

Massot M., Couffignal C., Clermont O., D'Humières C., Chatel J., Plault N., Andremont A., Caron A., Mentré F., Denamur E.. 2017. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 83 (13) : 17 p..

To get insights into the temporal pattern of commensal Escherichia coli populations, we sampled the feces of four healthy cows from the same herd in the Hwange District of Zimbabwe daily over 25 days. The cows had not received antibiotic treatment during the previous 3 months. We performed viable E. coli counts and characterized the 326 isolates originating from the 98 stool samples at a clonal level, screened them for stx and eae genes, and tested them for their antibiotic susceptibilities. We observed that E. coli counts and dominant clones were different among cows, and very few clones were shared. No clone was shared by three or four cows. Clone richness and evenness were not different between cows. Within each host, the variability in the E. coli count was evidenced between days, and no clone was found to be dominant during the entire sampling period, suggesting the existence of clonal interference. Dominant clones tended to persist longer than subdominant ones and were mainly from phylogenetic groups A and B1. Five E. coli clones were found to contain both the stx1 and stx2 genes, representing 6.3% of the studied isolates. All cows harbored at least one Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) strain. Resistance to tetracycline, penicillins, trimethoprim, and sulfonamides was rare and observed in three clones that were shed at low levels in two cows. This study highlights the fact that the commensal E. coli population, including the STEC population, is host specific, is highly dynamic over a short time frame, and rarely carries antibiotic resistance determinants in the absence of antibiotic treatment. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : phylogénie; génétique des populations; Écologie microbienne; toxine bactérienne; fèces; enquête pathologique; dynamique des populations; hôte; bovin; résistance aux antibiotiques; escherichia coli; zimbabwe

Thématique : Maladies des animaux

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