Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) is a major bacterial pathogen that causes urinary tract infections (UTIs). The mouse is an available UTI model for studying the pathogenicity; however, Caenorhabditis elegans represents as an alternative surrogate host with the capacity for high-throughput analysis. Then, we established a simple assay for a UPEC infection model with C. elegans for large-scale screening. A total of 133 clinically isolated E. coli strains, which included UTI-associated and fecal isolates, were applied to demonstrate the simple pathogenicity assay. From the screening, several virulence factors (VFs) involved with iron acquisition (chuA, fyuA, and irp2) were significantly associated with high pathogenicity. We then evaluated whether the VFs in UPEC were involved in the pathogenicity. Mutants of E. coli UTI89 with defective iron acquisition systems were applied to a solid killing assay with C. elegans. As a result, the survival rate of C. elegans fed with the mutants significantly increased compared to when fed with the parent strain. The results demonstrated, the simple assay with C. elegans was useful as a UPEC infectious model. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the involvement of iron acquisition in the pathogenicity of UPEC in a C. elegans model.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)