Chapter 16 : Sorbitol-Fermenting Enterohemorrhagic O157:H

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A relative of enterohemorrhagic (EHEC) O157:H7, namely, sorbitol-fermenting (SF) O157:H (nonmotile), is an important and fascinating human pathogen. The author highlights that researchers were quite motivated to find the infecting pathogen, because the PCR with primers MK1/MK2 from the enrichment culture was positive, the sorbitol MacConkey (SMAC) agar results not withstanding. Therefore, these researchers performed a colony blot hybridization test. The colonies identified with this procedure agglutinated in anti-O157 serum. Because of their ability to ferment sorbitol after overnight incubation, SF EHEC O157:H strains cannot be distinguished from the physiological intestinal microflora using SMAC agar. This medium remains the most commonly used, rapid, and appropriate way to isolate EHEC O157:H7. At the beginning of the 1990s, researchers sought to identify virulence factors of SF EHEC O157:H and to determine whether or not these strains were only slight phenotypic variants of non-sorbitol-fermenting (NSF) EHEC O157:H7 or if they were substantially different. They formulated an evolutionary model that includes several steps in the emergence of O157:H7. EHEC O157:H7 and SF EHEC O157:H differ in several important aspects, including their phenotypes, the epidemiology of the infection, and the risk of the progression of the infection to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Citation: Karch H, Ammon A, Tarr P, Bielaszewska M. 2011. Sorbitol-Fermenting Enterohemorrhagic O157:H, p 273-285. In Walk S, Feng P (ed), Population Genetics of Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817114.ch16

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Type III Secretion System
Cytolethal Distending Toxin
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Figure 1.

Electron microscopic demonstration of Sfp fimbriae in an SF EHEC O157:H strain using immunogold staining with anti-Sfp antibody. Photomicrograph by Lilo Greune, Institute of Infectiology, University of Münster, Germany.

Citation: Karch H, Ammon A, Tarr P, Bielaszewska M. 2011. Sorbitol-Fermenting Enterohemorrhagic O157:H, p 273-285. In Walk S, Feng P (ed), Population Genetics of Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817114.ch16
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Generic image for table
Table 1.

Outbreaks caused by SF EHEC O157:H

Citation: Karch H, Ammon A, Tarr P, Bielaszewska M. 2011. Sorbitol-Fermenting Enterohemorrhagic O157:H, p 273-285. In Walk S, Feng P (ed), Population Genetics of Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817114.ch16
Generic image for table
Table 2.

Major phenotypic and epidemiological differences between EHEC O157:H7 and SF EHEC O157:H

Citation: Karch H, Ammon A, Tarr P, Bielaszewska M. 2011. Sorbitol-Fermenting Enterohemorrhagic O157:H, p 273-285. In Walk S, Feng P (ed), Population Genetics of Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817114.ch16

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