Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jbacterPermissionsJournals.ASM.orgJournalJB ArticleJournal InfoAuthorsReviewers
J Bacteriol. 2010 February; 192(4): 1165–1166.
Published online 2009 December 11. doi:  10.1128/JB.01543-09
PMCID: PMC2812965

Complete Genome Sequence of the Wild-Type Commensal Escherichia coli Strain SE15, Belonging to Phylogenetic Group B2[down-pointing small open triangle]


Escherichia coli SE15 (O150:H5) is a human commensal bacterium recently isolated from feces of a healthy adult and classified into E. coli phylogenetic group B2, which includes the majority of extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli. Here, we report the finished and annotated genome sequence of this organism.

The complete genome sequence of Escherichia coli SE15 was determined using a combination of 2-kb and 40-kb Sanger libraries and 454 pyrosequencing. We generated 57,600 sequences (ABI 3730xl sequencers) and three sequencing runs (GS20 sequencers). The 454 pyrosequencing reads were first assembled using the Newbler assembler software (4). A hybrid assembly of 454 and Sanger reads was performed using the Phred-Phrap-Consed program (1). Remaining gaps between contigs were closed by direct sequencing of clones. Prediction and annotation of protein-coding genes were performed as described previously (6).

The genome of E. coli SE15 consists of a circular 4,717,338-bp chromosome containing 4,338 predicted protein-coding genes and a 122-kb plasmid (pSE15) encoding 150 protein-coding genes. From the multilocus sequence typing analysis based on the nucleotide sequences of seven housekeeping genes (adk, fumC, gyrB, icd, mdh, purA, and recA), SE15 was found to belong to E. coli reference collection group B2. In the chromosome, two prophage regions and seven integrative elements are found. Of the predicted protein-coding genes, we could assign 2,883 (64%) to known functions, 1,528 (34%) as conserved hypothetical genes and 77 (2%) as novel hypothetical genes. Of the predicted protein-coding genes on the chromosome, 3,735 (86%) are common to three uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) genomes (CFT073, UTI89, and 536) and 263 (6%) are not identified in any of the three UPEC genomes. The 263 genes include 7 genes for the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system involved in the uptake of carbohydrates, reflecting the adaptation of SE15 to a commensal lifestyle in the intestinal tract. pSE15 shares 121 genes (81%) with a 114-kb plasmid (GenBank accession no. CP000244) of UPEC UTI89, indicating that both plasmids are derived from the same origin.

The chromosome contains six large segments (LSs; >30 kb) designated LSs I to VI, three of which overlap one prophage region and two integrative elements. Each of the six LSs is located at the same locus as at least one of the pathogenicity islands (PAIs) or other insertion regions in the three UPEC genomes. LS II (ECSF_1824 to ECSF_1835) and three PAIs (PAI IVUTI89, PAI IV536, and HPICFT073) are located at the same loci in each chromosome and share the ybt operon encoding the yersiniabactin iron acquisition system, indicating that the ancestral E. coli of group B2 strains may have acquired the ybt genes. LS III (ECSF_1852 to ECSF_1897), PAI VIUTI89, PAI VI536, and PAICFT073-asnW are located at the same loci in each chromosome. The three PAIs contain the pks island encoding multiple nonribosomal peptide synthases and polyketide synthases, whereas LS III in SE15 completely lacks the pks island. The commensal E. coli strain ED1a also lacks the pks island (8), but the commensal E. coli strain Nissle 1917 has the pks island (5). These data suggest that the presence of the pks island may not be common among intestinal commensal strains in group B2. LS V (ECSF_2770 to ECSF_2794) is almost identical to PAI VUTI89, which contains the genes cluster for a type II secretion system (gsp), group II capsule synthesis (kps), and polysialic acid synthesis (neu). The neu operon between the kpsFEDUCS and kpsMT genes in PAI VUTI89 is responsible for K1 capsule biosynthesis, and this region between the kpsFEDUCS and kpsMT genes is highly variable in E. coli (9). The corresponding region (ECSF_2777 to ECSF_2781) in LS V encodes genes different from those in the neu operon in PAI VUTI89; differs from the corresponding regions of the CFT073 (K2 serotype), 536 (K15 serotype), and APEC O1 (K1 serotype) strains; and shows no homology with any sequence in public databases.

SE15 lacks many virulence-related genes, whereas UPEC encodes virulence-related factors, including fimbrial adhesins, toxins, capsule, and serum resistance and iron uptake systems. The three UPEC strains have the genes encoding P fimbriae (pap), S fimbriae (sfa/foc), Auf fimbriae (auf), and type 1 fimbriae (fim), whereas SE15 contains only the fim genes and lacked the pap, sfa/foc, and auf genes. Amino acid replacements in FimH located at the tip of type 1 fimbriae produce a shift from a commensal-associated trimannose binding phenotype to a urinary tract infection-associated monomannose binding phenotype (7). The other sequenced B2 strains (three UPEC strains, APEC O1, LF82, and ED1a) have Ser-70 and Asn-78 residues in FimH, whereas SE15 has Asn-70 and Ser-78 residues that are conserved in intestinal E. coli strains. Of the seven chaperon-usher fimbrial operons in SE15, six (fim, yad, yde, yeh, yfc, and yqi) are conserved in the three UPEC genomes. The one remaining fimbrial operon (ECSF_0163 to ECSF_0166) is specific to SE15. The GC content (42%) of this 5-kb fimbrial region is lower than the average GC content (51%) of the chromosome. UPEC strains contain a greater number of iron acquisition systems than do commensal strains, which may be a consequence of their adaptation to the iron-limiting urinary tract environment (3). SE15 also contains iron uptake system genes encoding siderophore enterobactin, siderophore yersiniabactin, iron transporter (sit), and heme (chu) systems but lacks genes for siderophore salmochelin, siderophore aerobactin, and novel siderophore (ireA), which are encoded by PAIs of UPEC strains. Furthermore, SE15 lacks genes encoding alpha-hemolysin and cytotoxic necrotizing factor, which are known toxins encoded by PAIs of UPEC strains.

It has been pointed out that extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) virulence factors identified in commensal strains of group B2 may facilitate colonization of the human gut and thus act as fitness factors for commensal E. coli stains (2). SE15 contains fewer known ExPEC virulence-associated genes than other known commensal strains (ED1a and Nissle 1917) in group B2, suggesting that ExPEC virulence-related genes in the SE15 genome may be necessary for this commensal microorganism to colonize the human gut.

Nucleotide sequence accession numbers.

The sequence data of the SE15 genome have been deposited in GenBank/DDBJ/EMBL under accession numbers AP009378 (chromosome) and AP009379 (plasmid).


We thank K. Furuya, C. Yoshino, H. Inaba, K. Motomura, and Y. Hattori (University of Tokyo), A. Yamashita, A. Tamura, N. Itoh (Kitasato University), and the technical staff of the Sequence Technology team of RIKEN GSC for technical assistance.

This research was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas, Area 4—Comprehensive Genomics (M.H.), from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.


[down-pointing small open triangle]Published ahead of print on 11 December 2009.


1. Gordon, D., C. Desmarais, and P. Green. 2001. Automated finishing with Autofinish. Genome Res. 11:614-625. [PubMed]
2. Le Gall, T., O. Clermont, S. Gouriou, B. Picard, X. Nassif, E. Denamur, and O. Tenaillon. 2007. Extraintestinal virulence is a coincidental by-product of commensalism in B2 phylogenetic group Escherichia coli strains. Mol. Biol. Evol. 24:2373-2384. [PubMed]
3. Lloyd, A. L., D. A. Rasko, and H. L. Mobley. 2007. Defining genomic islands and uropathogen-specific genes in uropathogenic Escherichia coli. J. Bacteriol. 189:3532-3546. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
4. Margulies, M., M. Egholm, W. E. Altman, S. Attiya, J. S. Bader, L. A. Bemben, J. Berka, M. S. Braverman, Y. J. Chen, Z. Chen, S. B. Dewell, L. Du, J. M. Fierro, X. V. Gomes, B. C. Godwin, W. He, S. Helgesen, C. H. Ho, G. P. Irzyk, S. C. Jando, M. L. Alenquer, T. P. Jarvie, K. B. Jirage, J. B. Kim, J. R. Knight, J. R. Lanza, J. H. Leamon, S. M. Lefkowitz, M. Lei, J. Li, K. L. Lohman, H. Lu, V. B. Makhijani, K. E. McDade, M. P. McKenna, E. W. Myers, E. Nickerson, J. R. Nobile, R. Plant, B. P. Puc, M. T. Ronan, G. T. Roth, G. J. Sarkis, J. F. Simons, J. W. Simpson, M. Srinivasan, K. R. Tartaro, A. Tomasz, K. A. Vogt, G. A. Volkmer, S. H. Wang, Y. Wang, M. P. Weiner, P. Yu, R. F. Begley, and J. M. Rothberg. 2005. Genome sequencing in microfabricated high-density picolitre reactors. Nature 437:376-380. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
5. Nougayrède, J. P., S. Homburg, F. Taieb, M. Boury, E. Brzuszkiewicz, G. Gottschalk, C. Buchrieser, J. Hacker, U. Dobrindt, and E. Oswald. 2006. Escherichia coli induces DNA double-strand breaks in eukaryotic cells. Science 313:848-851. [PubMed]
6. Oshima, K., H. Toh, Y. Ogura, H. Sasamoto, H. Morita, S. H. Park, T. Ooka, S. Iyoda, T. D. Taylor, T. Hayashi, K. Itoh, and M. Hattori. 2008. Complete genome sequence and comparative analysis of the wild-type commensal Escherichia coli strain SE11 isolated from a healthy adult. DNA Res. 15:375-386. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
7. Sokurenko, E. V., V. Chesnokova, D. E. Dykhuizen, I. Ofek, X. R. Wu, K. A. Krogfelt, C. Struve, M. A. Schembri, and D. L. Hasty. 1998. Pathogenic adaptation of Escherichia coli by natural variation of the FimH adhesin. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 95:8922-8926. [PubMed]
8. Touchon, M., C. Hoede, O. Tenaillon, V. Barbe, S. Baeriswyl, P. Bidet, E. Bingen, S. Bonacorsi, C. Bouchier, O. Bouvet, A. Calteau, H. Chiapello, O. Clermont, S. Cruveiller, A. Danchin, M. Diard, C. Dossat, M. E. Karoui, E. Frapy, L. Garry, J. M. Ghigo, A. M. Gilles, J. Johnson, C. Le Bouguénec, M. Lescat, S. Mangenot, V. Martinez-Jéhanne, I. Matic, X. Nassif, S. Oztas, M. A. Petit, C. Pichon, Z. Rouy, C. S. Ruf, D. Schneider, J. Tourret, B. Vacherie, D. Vallenet, C. Médigue, E. P. Rocha, and E. Denamur. 2009. Organised genome dynamics in the Escherichia coli species results in highly diverse adaptive paths. PLoS Genet. 5:e1000344. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
9. Whitfield, C. 2006. Biosynthesis and assembly of capsular polysaccharides in Escherichia coli. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 75:39-68. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Bacteriology are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)