Uropathogenic E.coli (UPEC) are among major pathogens causing urinary tract infections. Virulence factors are mainly responsible for the severity of these emerging infections. This study was planned to investigate the distribution of virulence genes and cytotoxic effects of UPEC isolates with reference to phylogenetic groups (B2, B1, D and A) to understand the presence and impact of virulence factors in the severity of infection in Faisalabad region of Pakistan.
In this study phylogenetic analysis, virulence gene identification and cytotoxicity of 59 uropathogenic E.coli isolates obtained from non-hospitalized patients was studied.
Among 59 isolates, phylogenetic group B2 (50%) was most dominant followed by groups A, B1 (19% each) and D (12%). Isolates present in group D showed highest presence of virulence genes. The prevalence hlyA (37%) was highest followed by sfaDE (27%), papC (24%), cnf1 (20%), eaeA (19%) and afaBC3 (14%). Highly hemolytic and highly verotoxic isolates mainly belonged to group D and B2. We also found two isolates with simultaneous presence of three fimbrial adhesin genes present on pap, afa, and sfa operons. This has not been reported before and underlines the dynamic nature of these UPEC isolates.
It was concluded that in local UPEC isolates from non-hospitalized patients, group B2 was more prevalent. However, group D isolates were most versatile as all were equipped with virulence genes and showed highest level of cytotoxicity.