Letters to Nature

Nature 409, 529-533 (25 January 2001) | doi:10.1038/35054089; Received 24 July 2000; Accepted 6 November 2000

Genome sequence of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7

Nicole T. Perna1,2, Guy Plunkett, III3, Valerie Burland3, Bob Mau3, Jeremy D. Glasner3, Debra J. Rose3, George F. Mayhew3, Peter S. Evans3, Jason Gregor3, Heather A. Kirkpatrick3, György Pósfai4, Jeremiah Hackett3, Sara Klink3, Adam Boutin3, Ying Shao3, Leslie Miller3, Erik J. Grotbeck3, N. Wayne Davis3, Alex Lim5, Eileen T. Dimalanta5, Konstantinos D. Potamousis3,5, Jennifer Apodaca3,5, Thomas S. Anantharaman6, Jieyi Lin7, Galex Yen1, David C. Schwartz1,3,5, Rodney A. Welch8 & Frederick R. Blattner1,3

  1. Genome Center of Wisconsin,
  2. Department of Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences,
  3. Laboratory of Genetics,
  4. Department of Chemistry,
  5. Department of Biostatistics, and
  6. Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706 , USA
  7. Institute of Biochemistry, Biological Research Center, H-6701 Szeged, Hungary
  8. Cereon Genomics, LLC, 45 Sidney Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

Correspondence to: Nicole T. Perna1,2 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to N.T.P. (e-mail: Email: perna@ahabs.wisc.edu). The GenBank accession number for the annotated sequence is AE00517H.

The bacterium Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a worldwide threat to public health and has been implicated in many outbreaks of haemorrhagic colitis, some of which included fatalities caused by haemolytic uraemic syndrome1, 2. Close to 75,000 cases of O157:H7 infection are now estimated to occur annually in the United States3. The severity of disease, the lack of effective treatment and the potential for large-scale outbreaks from contaminated food supplies have propelled intensive research on the pathogenesis and detection of E. coli O157:H7 (ref. 4). Here we have sequenced the genome of E. coli O157:H7 to identify candidate genes responsible for pathogenesis, to develop better methods of strain detection and to advance our understanding of the evolution of E. coli, through comparison with the genome of the non-pathogenic laboratory strain E. coli K-12 (ref. 5). We find that lateral gene transfer is far more extensive than previously anticipated. In fact, 1,387 new genes encoded in strain-specific clusters of diverse sizes were found in O157:H7. These include candidate virulence factors, alternative metabolic capacities, several prophages and other new functions—all of which could be targets for surveillance.