Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) causes hemorrhagic colitis and life-threatening complications. The main reservoirs for EHEC are healthy ruminants. We reported that SdiA senses acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) in the bovine rumen to activate expression of the glutamate acid resistance (gad) genes priming EHEC's acid resistance before they pass into the acidic abomasum. Conversely, SdiA represses expression of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) genes, whose expression is not required for bacterial survival in the rumen but is necessary for efficient colonization at the rectoanal junction (RAJ) mucosa. Our previous studies show that SdiA-dependent regulation was necessary for efficient EHEC colonization of cattle fed a grain diet. Here, we compared the SdiA role in EHEC colonization of cattle fed a forage hay diet. We detected AHLs in the rumen of cattle fed a hay diet, and these AHLs activated gad gene expression in an SdiA-dependent manner. The rumen fluid and fecal samples from hay-fed cattle were near neutrality, while the same digesta samples from grain-fed animals were acidic. Cattle fed either grain or hay and challenged with EHEC orally carried the bacteria similarly. EHEC was cleared from the rumen within days and from the RAJ mucosa after approximately one month. In competition trials, where animals were challenged with both wild-type and SdiA deletion mutant bacteria, diet did not affect the outcome that the wild-type strain was better able to persist and colonize. However, the wild-type strain had a greater advantage over the SdiA deletion mutant at the RAJ mucosa among cattle fed the grain diet.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases