The temperature-sensitive hemagglutinin Tsh is a member of the autotransporter group of proteins and was first identified in avian- pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) strain χ7122. The prevalence of tsh was investigated in 300 E. coli isolates of avian origin and characterized for virulence in a 1-day-old chick lethality test. Results indicate that among the tsh-positive APEC isolates, 90.6% belonged to the highest virulence class. Experimental inoculation of chickens with χ7122 and an isogenic tsh mutant demonstrated that Tsh may contribute to the development of lesions within the air sacs of birds but is not required for subsequent generalized infection manifesting as perihepatitis, pericarditis, and septicemia. Conjugation and hybridization experiments revealed that the tsh gene is located on a CoIV-type plasmid in many of the APEC strains studied, including strain χ7122, near the colicin V genes in most of these strains. DNA sequences flanking the tsh gene of strain χ7122 include complete and partial insertion sequences and phage-related DNA sequences, some of which were also found on virulence plasmids and pathogenicity islands present in various E. coli pathotypes and other pathogenic members of the Enterobacteriaceae. These results demonstrate that the tsh gene is frequently located on the CoIV virulence plasmid in APEC and suggest a possible role of Tsh in the pathogenicity of E. coli for chickens in the early stages of infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases