BMC Biology (Oct 2020)

Spatial and temporal modulation of enterotoxigenic E. coli H10407 pathogenesis and interplay with microbiota in human gut models

  • Charlène Roussel,
  • Kim De Paepe,
  • Wessam Galia,
  • Jana De Bodt,
  • Sandrine Chalancon,
  • Françoise Leriche,
  • Nathalie Ballet,
  • Sylvain Denis,
  • Monique Alric,
  • Tom Van de Wiele,
  • Stéphanie Blanquet-Diot

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 1
pp. 1 – 21


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Abstract Background Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) substantially contributes to the burden of diarrheal illnesses in developing countries. With the use of complementary in vitro models of the human digestive environment, TNO gastrointestinal model (TIM-1), and Mucosal Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (M-SHIME), we provided the first detailed report on the spatial-temporal modulation of ETEC H10407 survival, virulence, and its interplay with gut microbiota. These systems integrate the main physicochemical parameters of the human upper digestion (TIM-1) and simulate the ileum vs ascending colon microbial communities and luminal vs mucosal microenvironments, captured from six fecal donors (M-SHIME). Results A loss of ETEC viability was noticed upon gastric digestion, while a growth renewal was found at the end of jejunal and ileal digestion. The remarkable ETEC mucosal attachment helped to maintain luminal concentrations above 6 log10 mL−1 in the ileum and ascending colon up to 5 days post-infection. Seven ETEC virulence genes were monitored. Most of them were switched on in the stomach and switched off in the TIM-1 ileal effluents and in a late post-infectious stage in the M-SHIME ascending colon. No heat-labile enterotoxin production was measured in the stomach in contrast to the ileum and ascending colon. Using 16S rRNA gene-based amplicon sequencing, ETEC infection modulated the microbial community structure of the ileum mucus and ascending colon lumen. Conclusions This study provides a better understanding of the interplay between ETEC and gastrointestinal cues and may serve to complete knowledge on ETEC pathogenesis and inspire novel prophylactic strategies for diarrheal diseases.