Clarifying the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria acquire virulence traits is important for understanding the bacterial virulence system. In the present study, we utilized a bacterial evolution method in a silkworm infection model and revealed that deletion of the opgGH operon, encoding synthases for osmoregulated periplasmic glucan (OPG), increased the virulence of a nonpathogenic laboratory strain of Escherichia coli against silkworms. The opgGH knockout mutant exhibited resistance to host antimicrobial peptides and antibiotics. Compared with the parent strain, the opgGH knockout mutant produced greater amounts of colanic acid, which is involved in E. coli resistance to antibiotics. RNA sequence analysis revealed that the opgGH knockout altered the expression of various genes, including the evgS/evgA two-component system that functions in antibiotic resistance. In both a colanic acid-negative background and an evgS-null background, the opgGH knockout increased E. coli resistance to antibiotics and increased the silkworm-killing activity of E. coli. In the null background of the envZ/ompR two-component system, which genetically interacts with opgGH, the opgGH knockout increased antibiotic resistance and virulence in silkworms. These findings suggest that the absence of OPG confers antimicrobial resistance and virulence in E. coli in a colanic acid-, evgS/evgA-, and envZ/ ompR-independent manner.
- Experimental evolution
- Osmoregulated periplasmic glucan
- Silkworm infection model
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology