Comparative analyses of phenotypic and genotypic methods for detection of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli toxins and colonization factors

Å Sjöling*, G. Wiklund, S. J. Savarino, D. I. Cohen, A. M. Svennerholm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is one of the main causes of childhood diarrhea in developing countries and in travelers. However, this pathogen has often not been reported in surveys of diarrheal pathogens, due to lack of simple standardized methods to detect ETEC in many laboratories. ETEC expresses one or both of two different enterotoxin subtypes: heat-stable toxins, a heat-labile toxin (LT), and more than 22 different colonization factors (CFs) that mediate adherence to the intestinal cell wall. Here we compare established phenotypic and genotypic detection methods and newly developed PCR detection methods with respect to sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and ease of performance. The methods include GM1-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and dot blot techniques using specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) for phenotypic detection of the toxins and CFs, respectively, as well as different PCR and DNA/DNA hybridization techniques, including new PCR assays, for genotypic identification of the toxin and CF genes, respectively. We found very good general agreement in results derived from genotypic and phenotypic methods. In a few strains, LT and CFs were identified genetically but not phenotypically. Based on our analyses, we recommend initial screening for ETEC in clinical samples by multiplex toxin gene PCR. Toxin-positive strains may then be analyzed by dot blot tests for detection of the CFs expressed on the bacterial surface and by PCR for determination of additional CFs for which MAbs are currently lacking as well as for strains that harbor silent CF genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3295-3301
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Volume45
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2007

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