Most cases of Escherichia coli meningitis develop as a result of hematogenous spread, but it is not clear how circulating E. coli crosses the blood-brain barrier. A TnphoA mutant of E. coli K1 RS218 was shown to be significantly less invasive than its parent strain in bovine and human brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMEC), which constitute the blood-brain barrier. More importantly, traversal of the blood-brain barrier was significantly less with this mutant than with the parent strain in newborn rats with experimental hematogenous meningitis. A DNA segment containing the TripboA insertion site was cloned from RS218, and the cloned DNA complemented the TnphoA mutant in invasion of BMEC. Nucleotide sequence revealed a near identity to that of a hypothetical yijP gene (also called f577) in the E. coli K-12 genome. Sequence analysis indicated that the E. coli K1 yijP gene likely encodes a 66.6-kDa membrane protein. Deletion and complementation experiments indicated that the yijP gene was involved in E. coli K1 invasion of BMEC, i.e., the invasive ability of E. coli K1 was significantly reduced after yijP was deleted and was restored by complementation with a plasmid containing the yijP open reading frame. This is the first demonstration that the yljP gene locus plays a role in the pathogenesis of E. coli K1 meningitis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases