Bacterial microcompartment-mediated ethanolamine metabolism in E. coli urinary tract infection

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Dadswell, Katherine
Creagh, Sinead
McCullagh, Edward
Liang, Mingzhi
Brown, Ian R.
Warren, Martin J. McNally, Alan
MacSharry, John
Prentice, Michael B.
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American Society for Microbiology
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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common, in general caused by intestinal Uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) ascending via the urethra. Microcompartment-mediated catabolism of ethanolamine, a host cell breakdown product, fuels competitive overgrowth of intestinal E. coli, both pathogenic enterohaemorrhagic E. coli and commensal strains. During UTI urease negative E. coli thrive, despite the comparative nutrient limitation in urine. The role of ethanolamine as a potential nutrient source during UTI is understudied. We evaluated the role of metabolism of ethanolamine as a potential nitrogen and carbon source for UPEC in the urinary tract. We analysed infected urine samples by culture, HPLC, qRT-PCR and genomic sequencing. Ethanolamine concentration in urine was comparable to the most abundant reported urinary amino acid D-serine. Transcription of the eut operon was detected in the majority of urine samples screened containing E. coli. All sequenced UPECs had conserved eut operons while metabolic genotypes previously associated with UTI (dsdCXA, metE) were mainly limited to phylogroup B2. In vitro ethanolamine was found to be utilised as a sole source of nitrogen by UPECs. Metabolism of ethanolamine in artificial urine medium (AUM) induced metabolosome formation and provided a growth advantage at the physiological levels found in urine. Interestingly, eutE (acetaldehyde dehydrogenase) was required for UPECs to utilise ethanolamine to gain a growth advantage in AUM, suggesting ethanolamine is also utilised as a carbon source. This data suggests urinary ethanolamine is a significant additional carbon and nitrogen source for infecting E. coli.
Microcompartment , Metabolosome , Urinary tract infection , E. coli , Ethanolamine
Dadswell, K., Creagh, S., McCullagh, E., Liang, M., Brown, I. R., Warren, M. J., McNally, A., MacSharry, J. and Prentice, M. B. (2019) 'Bacterial microcompartment-mediated ethanolamine metabolism in E. coli urinary tract infection', Infection and Immunity, IAI.00211-19. In Press, doi: 10.1128/iai.00211-19