Inactivation and Gene Expression of a Virulent WastewaterEscherichia coliStrain and the Nonvirulent CommensalEscherichia coliDSM1103 Strain upon Solar Irradiation
KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Environmental Science and Engineering Program
Water Desalination and Reuse Research Center (WDRC)
KAUST Grant NumberBAS/1/1033-01-01
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThis study examined the decay kinetics and molecular responses of two Escherichia coli strains upon solar irradiation. The first is E. coli PI-7, a virulent and antibiotic-resistant strain that was isolated from wastewater and carries the emerging NDM-1 antibiotic resistance gene. The other strain, E. coli DSM1103, displayed lower virulence and antibiotic resistance than E. coli PI-7. In a buffer solution, E. coli PI-7 displayed a longer lag phase prior to decay and a longer half-life compared with E. coli DSM1103 (6.64 ± 0.63 h and 2.85 ± 0.46 min vs 1.33 ± 0.52 h and 2.04 ± 0.36 min). In wastewater, both E. coli strains decayed slower than they did in buffer. Although solar irradiation remained effective in reducing the numbers of both strains by more than 5-log10 in <24 h, comparative genomics and transcriptomics revealed differences in the genomes and overall regulation of genes between the two E. coli strains. A wider arsenal of genes related to oxidative stress, cellular repair and protective mechanisms were upregulated in E. coli PI-7. Subpopulations of E. coli PI-7 expressed genes related to dormancy and persister cell formation during the late decay phase, which may have accounted for its prolonged persistence. Upon prolonged solar irradiation, both E. coli strains displayed upregulation of genes related to horizontal gene transfer and antibiotic resistance. Virulence functions unique to E. coli PI-7 were also upregulated. Our findings collectively indicated that, whereas solar irradiation is able to reduce total cell numbers, viable E. coli remained and expressed genes that enable survival despite solar treatment. There remains a need for heightened levels of concern regarding risks arising from the dissemination of E. coli that may remain viable in wastewater after solar irradiation.
CitationAl-Jassim N, Mantilla-Calderon D, Wang T, Hong P-Y (2017) Inactivation and Gene Expression of a Virulent Wastewater Escherichia coli Strain and the Nonvirulent Commensal Escherichia coli DSM1103 Strain upon Solar Irradiation. Environmental Science & Technology 51: 3649–3659. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b05377.
SponsorsThis study is supported by KAUST baseline funding BAS/1/ 1033-01-01 awarded to P.-Y. Hong. The authors thank Dr. Shengkun Dong and Professor Helen Nguyen for providing training to N.A.-J. on the use of the solar simulator in the earlier phase of this project; Dr. Inhyuk Kwon and Professor Roderick Mackie for providing training to N.A.-J. on transcriptomics analysis; and Dr. Muhammad Raihan Jumat for providing assistance with reverse transcription. The authors express gratitude to Mr. George Princeton Dunsford for granting access to the wastewater samples and to Dr. Moataz El Ghany for ideas pertaining to E. coli transcriptomics.
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society (ACS)