Editor: Simon Cutting
The structures of Escherichia coli O-polysaccharide antigens
Article first published online: 9 FEB 2006
FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Volume 30, Issue 3, pages 382–403, May 2006
How to Cite
Stenutz, R., Weintraub, A. and Widmalm, G. (2006), The structures of Escherichia coli O-polysaccharide antigens. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 30: 382–403. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2006.00016.x
- Issue published online: 21 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 9 FEB 2006
- Received 31 August 2005; revised 15 November 2005; accepted 21 November 2005.First published online 9 February 2006.
Escherichia coli is usually a non-pathogenic member of the human colonic flora. However, certain strains have acquired virulence factors and may cause a variety of infections in humans and in animals. There are three clinical syndromes caused by E. coli: (i) sepsis/meningitis; (ii) urinary tract infection and (iii) diarrhoea. Furthermore the E. coli causing diarrhoea is divided into different ‘pathotypes’ depending on the type of disease, i.e. (i) enterotoxigenic; (ii) enteropathogenic; (iii) enteroinvasive; (iv) enterohaemorrhagic; (v) enteroaggregative and (vi) diffusely adherent. The serotyping of E. coli based on the somatic (O), flagellar (H) and capsular polysaccharide antigens (K) is used in epidemiology. The different antigens may be unique for a particular serogroup or antigenic determinants may be shared, resulting in cross-reactions with other serogroups of E. coli or even with other members of the family Enterobacteriacea. To establish the uniqueness of a particular serogroup or to identify the presence of common epitopes, a database of the structures of O-antigenic polysaccharides has been created. The E. coli database (ECODAB) contains structures, nuclear magnetic resonance chemical shifts and to some extent cross-reactivity relationships. All fields are searchable. A ranking is produced based on similarity, which facilitates rapid identification of strains that are difficult to serotype (if known) based on classical agglutinating methods. In addition, results pertinent to the biosynthesis of the repeating units of O-antigens are discussed. The ECODAB is accessible to the scientific community at http://www.casper.organ.su.se/ECODAB/.