Bacillus coli communis Escherich 1885
Escherichia coli (/ˌɛʃɪˈrɪkiə ˈkoʊlaɪ/; also known as E.
coli) is a Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped,
coliform bacterium of the genus
Escherichia that is commonly found in
the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms (endotherms). Most
E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious
food poisoning in their hosts, and are occasionally responsible for
product recalls due to food contamination. The harmless strains
are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts
by producing vitamin K2, and preventing colonization of the
intestine with pathogenic bacteria, having a symbiotic
relationship. E. coli is expelled into the environment within
fecal matter. The bacterium grows massively in fresh fecal matter
under aerobic conditions for 3 days, but its numbers decline slowly
E. coli and other facultative anaerobes constitute about 0.1% of gut
flora, and fecal–oral transmission is the major route through
which pathogenic strains of the bacterium cause disease. Cells are
able to survive outside the body for a limited amount of time, which
makes them potential indicator organisms to test environmental samples
for fecal contamination. A growing body of research, though,
has examined environmentally persistent E. coli which can survive for
extended periods outside a host.
The bacterium can be grown and cultured easily and inexpensively in a
laboratory setting, and has been intensively investigated for over 60
years. E. coli is a chemoheterotroph whose chemically defined medium
must include a source of carbon and energy. E. coli is the most
widely studied prokaryotic model organism, and an important species in
the fields of biotechnology and microbiology, where it has served as
the host organism for the majority of work with recombinant DNA. Under
favorable conditions, it takes up to 20 minutes to reproduce.
1 Biology and biochemistry
1.1 Type and morphology
1.3 Culture growth
1.4 Cell cycle
1.5 Genetic adaptation
Genome plasticity and evolution
2.3 Neotype strain
Phylogeny of E. coli strains
4 Gene nomenclature
6 Normal microbiota
6.1 Therapeutic use
7 Role in disease
7.1 Incubation period
Model organism in life science research
8.1 Model organism
10 See also
12 External links
12.2 General databases with E. coli-related information
Biology and biochemistry
Model of successive binary fission in E. coli
A colony of E. coli growing
Type and morphology
E. coli is a Gram-negative, facultative anaerobic (that makes ATP by
aerobic respiration if oxygen is present, but is capable of switching
to fermentation or anaerobic respiration if oxygen is absent) and
nonsporulating bacterium. Cells are typically rod-shaped, and are
about 2.0 μm long and 0.25–1.0 μm in diameter, with a cell
volume of 0.6–0.7 μm3.
E. coli stains Gram-negative because its cell wall is composed of a
thin peptidoglycan layer and an outer membrane. During the staining
process, E. coli picks up the color of the counterstain safranin and
stains pink. The outer membrane surrounding the cell wall provides a
barrier to certain antibiotics such that E. coli is not damaged by
Strains that possess flagella are motile. The flagella have a
peritrichous arrangement. It also attaches and effaces to the
microvilli of the intestines via an adhesion molecule known as
E. coli can live on a wide variety of substrates and uses mixed-acid
fermentation in anaerobic conditions, producing lactate, succinate,
ethanol, acetate, and carbon dioxide. Since many pathways in
mixed-acid fermentation produce hydrogen gas, these pathways require
the levels of hydrogen to be low, as is the case when E. coli lives
together with hydrogen-consuming organisms, such as methanogens or
Optimum growth of E. coli occurs at 37 °C (98.6 °F), but
some laboratory strains can multiply at temperatures up to 49 °C
(120 °F). E. coli grows in a variety of defined laboratory
media, such as lysogeny broth, or any medium that contains glucose,
ammonium phosphate, monobasic, sodium chloride, magnesium sulfate,
potassium phosphate, dibasic, and water. Growth can be driven by
aerobic or anaerobic respiration, using a large variety of redox
pairs, including the oxidation of pyruvic acid, formic acid, hydrogen,
and amino acids, and the reduction of substrates such as oxygen,
nitrate, fumarate, dimethyl sulfoxide, and trimethylamine N-oxide.
E. coli is classified as a facultative anaerobe. It uses oxygen when
it is present and available. It can, however, continue to grow in the
absence of oxygen using fermentation or anaerobic respiration. The
ability to continue growing in the absence of oxygen is an advantage
to bacteria because their survival is increased in environments where
Main article: Cell cycle
The bacterial cell cycle is divided into three stages. The B period
occurs between the completion of cell division and the beginning of
DNA replication. The C period encompasses the time it takes to
replicate the chromosomal DNA. The D period refers to the stage
between the conclusion of
DNA replication and the end of cell
division. The doubling rate of E. coli is higher when more
nutrients are available. However, the length of the C and D periods do
not change, even when the doubling time becomes less than the sum of
the C and D periods. At the fastest growth rates, replication begins
before the previous round of replication has completed, resulting in
multiple replication forks along the
DNA and overlapping cell
E. coli and related bacteria possess the ability to transfer
bacterial conjugation or transduction, which allows genetic material
to spread horizontally through an existing population. The process of
transduction, which uses the bacterial virus called a
bacteriophage, is where the spread of the gene encoding for the
Shiga toxin from the
Shigella bacteria to E. coli helped produce E.
coli O157:H7, the Shiga toxin-producing strain of E. coli.
Scanning electron micrograph of an E. coli colony.
E. coli encompasses an enormous population of bacteria that exhibit a
very high degree of both genetic and phenotypic diversity. Genome
sequencing of a large number of isolates of E. coli and related
bacteria shows that a taxonomic reclassification would be desirable.
However, this has not been done, largely due to its medical
importance, and E. coli remains one of the most diverse bacterial
species: only 20% of the genes in a typical E. coli genome is shared
among all strains.
In fact, from the evolutionary point of view, the members of genus
Shigella (S. dysenteriae, S. flexneri, S. boydii, and S. sonnei)
should be classified as E. coli strains, a phenomenon termed taxa in
disguise. Similarly, other strains of E. coli (e.g. the K-12
strain commonly used in recombinant
DNA work) are sufficiently
different that they would merit reclassification.
A strain is a subgroup within the species that has unique
characteristics that distinguish it from other strains. These
differences are often detectable only at the molecular level; however,
they may result in changes to the physiology or lifecycle of the
bacterium. For example, a strain may gain pathogenic capacity, the
ability to use a unique carbon source, the ability to take upon a
particular ecological niche, or the ability to resist antimicrobial
agents. Different strains of E. coli are often host-specific, making
it possible to determine the source of fecal contamination in
environmental samples. For example, knowing which E. coli
strains are present in a water sample allows researchers to make
assumptions about whether the contamination originated from a human,
another mammal, or a bird.
Pathogenic Escherichia coli
Pathogenic Escherichia coli § Serotypes
A common subdivision system of E. coli, but not based on evolutionary
relatedness, is by serotype, which is based on major surface antigens
(O antigen: part of lipopolysaccharide layer; H: flagellin; K antigen:
capsule), e.g. O157:H7). It is, however, common to cite only the
serogroup, i.e. the O-antigen. At present, about 190 serogroups are
known. The common laboratory strain has a mutation that prevents
the formation of an O-antigen and is thus not typeable.
Genome plasticity and evolution
Like all lifeforms, new strains of E. coli evolve through the natural
biological processes of mutation, gene duplication, and horizontal
gene transfer; in particular, 18% of the genome of the laboratory
strain MG1655 was horizontally acquired since the divergence from
E. coli K-12
E. coli K-12 and E. coli B strains are the most
frequently used varieties for laboratory purposes. Some strains
develop traits that can be harmful to a host animal. These virulent
strains typically cause a bout of diarrhea that is often self-limiting
in healthy adults but is frequently lethal to children in the
developing world. More virulent strains, such as O157:H7, cause
serious illness or death in the elderly, the very young, or the
Salmonella diverged around 102 million
years ago (credibility interval: 57–176 mya), which coincides
with the divergence of their hosts: the former being found in mammals
and the latter in birds and reptiles. This was followed by a split
Escherichia ancestor into five species (E. albertii, E. coli, E.
fergusonii, E. hermannii, and E. vulneris). The last E. coli ancestor
split between 20 and 30 million years ago.
The long-term evolution experiments using E. coli, begun by Richard
Lenski in 1988, have allowed direct observation of major evolutionary
shifts in the laboratory. E. coli typically do not have the
ability to grow aerobically with citrate as a carbon source, which is
used as a diagnostic criterion with which to differentiate E. coli
from other, closely, related bacteria such as Salmonella. In this
experiment, one population of E. coli unexpectedly evolved the ability
to aerobically metabolize citrate, possibly marking a speciation event
observed in the laboratory.
E. coli is the type species of the genus (Escherichia) and in turn
Escherichia is the type genus of the family Enterobacteriaceae, where
the family name does not stem from the genus Enterobacter + "i" (sic.)
+ "aceae", but from "enterobacterium" + "aceae" (enterobacterium being
not a genus, but an alternative trivial name to enteric
The original strain described by Escherich is believed to be lost,
consequently a new type strain (neotype) was chosen as a
representative: the neotype strain is U5/41T, also known under the
deposit names DSM 30083, ATCC 11775, and NCTC 9001, which
is pathogenic to chickens and has an O1:K1:H7 serotype. However,
in most studies, either O157:H7, K-12 MG1655, or K-12 W3110 were used
as a representative E. coli. The genome of the type strain has only
lately been sequenced.
Phylogeny of E. coli strains
A large number of strains belonging to this species have been isolated
and characterised. In addition to serotype (vide supra), they can be
classified according to their phylogeny, i.e. the inferred
evolutionary history, as shown below where the species is divided into
six groups. Particularly the use of whole genome sequences
yields highly supported phylogenies. Based on such data, five
subspecies of E. coli were distinguished.
The link between phylogenetic distance ("relatedness") and pathology
is small, e.g. the O157:H7 serotype strains, which form a clade
("an exclusive group")—group E below—are all enterohaemorragic
strains (EHEC), but not all EHEC strains are closely related. In fact,
four different species of
Shigella are nested among E. coli strains
(vide supra), while E. albertii and E. fergusonii are outside this
group. Indeed, all
Shigella species were placed within a single
subspecies of E. coli in a phylogenomic study that included the type
strain, and for this reason an according reclassification is
difficult. All commonly used research strains of E. coli belong to
group A and are derived mainly from Clifton's K-12 strain (λ⁺ F⁺;
O16) and to a lesser degree from d'Herelle's
Bacillus coli strain (B
E. coli SE15 (O150:H5. Commensal)
E. coli E2348/69 (O127:H6. Enteropathogenic)
E. coli ED1a O81 (Commensal)
E. coliCFT083 (O6:K2:H1. UPEC)
E. coli APEC O1 (O1:K12:H7. APEC
E. coli UTI89 O18:K1:H7. UPEC)
E. coli S88 (O45:K1. Extracellular pathogenic)
E. coli F11
E. coli 536
E. coli UMN026 (O17:K52:H18. Extracellular pathogenic)
E. coli (O19:H34. Extracellular pathogenic)
E. coli (O7:K1. Extracellular pathogenic)
E. coli EDL933 (O157:H7 EHEC)
E. coli Sakai (O157:H7 EHEC)
E. coli EC4115 (O157:H7 EHEC)
E. coli TW14359 (O157:H7 EHEC)
E. coli E24377A (O139:H28. Enterotoxigenic)
E. coli E110019
E. coli 11368 (O26:H11. EHEC)
E. coli 11128 (O111:H-. EHEC)
E. coli IAI1 O8 (Commensal)
E. coli 53638 (EIEC)
E. coli SE11 (O152:H28. Commensal)
E. coli B7A
E. coli 12009 (O103:H2. EHEC)
E. coli GOS1 (O104:H4 EAHEC) German 2011 outbreak
E. coli E22
E. coli Oslo O103
E. coli 55989 (O128:H2. Enteroaggressive)
E. coli HS (O9:H4. Commensal)
E. coli ATCC8739 (O146. Crook's E.coli used in phage work in the
K-12 strain derivatives
E. coli K-12
E. coli K-12 W3110 (O16. λ⁻ F⁻ "wild type" molecular biology
E. coli K-12
E. coli K-12 DH10b (O16. high electrocompetency molecular biology
E. coli K-12
E. coli K-12 DH1 (O16. high chemical competency molecular biology
E. coli K-12
E. coli K-12 MG1655 (O16. λ⁻ F⁻ "wild type" molecular biology
E. coli BW2952 (O16. competent molecular biology strain)
E. coli 101-1 (O? H?. EAEC)
B strain derivatives
E. coli B REL606 (O7. high competency molecular biology strain)
E. coli BL21-DE3 (O7. expression molecular biology strain with T7
polymerase for pET system)
An image of E.coli using early electron microscopy.
The first complete
DNA sequence of an E. coli genome (laboratory
strain K-12 derivative MG1655) was published in 1997. It is a circular
DNA molecule 4.6 million base pairs in length, containing 4288
annotated protein-coding genes (organized into 2584 operons), seven
ribosomal RNA (rRNA) operons, and 86 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes.
Despite having been the subject of intensive genetic analysis for
about 40 years, a large number of these genes were previously unknown.
The coding density was found to be very high, with a mean distance
between genes of only 118 base pairs. The genome was observed to
contain a significant number of transposable genetic elements, repeat
elements, cryptic prophages, and bacteriophage remnants.
More than three hundred complete genomic sequences of
Shigella species are known. The genome sequence of the type strain of
E. coli was added to this collection before 2014. Comparison of
these sequences shows a remarkable amount of diversity; only about 20%
of each genome represents sequences present in every one of the
isolates, while around 80% of each genome can vary among isolates.
Each individual genome contains between 4,000 and 5,500 genes, but the
total number of different genes among all of the sequenced E. coli
strains (the pangenome) exceeds 16,000. This very large variety of
component genes has been interpreted to mean that two-thirds of the E.
coli pangenome originated in other species and arrived through the
process of horizontal gene transfer.
Genes in E. coli are usually named by 4-letter acronyms that derive
from their function (when known) and italicized. For instance, recA is
named after its role in homologous recombination plus the letter A.
Functionally related genes are named recB, recC, recD etc. The
proteins are named by uppercase acronyms, e.g. RecA, RecB, etc. When
the genome of E. coli was sequenced, all genes were numbered (more or
less) in their order on the genome and abbreviated by b numbers, such
as b2819 (= recD). The "b" names were created after Fred Blattner, who
led the genome sequence effort. Another numbering system was
introduced with the sequence of another E. coli strain, W3110, which
was sequenced in Japan and hence uses numbers starting by JW...
(Japanese W3110), e.g. JW2787 (= recD). Hence, recD = b2819 =
JW2787. Note, however, that most databases have their own numbering
system, e.g. the EcoGene database uses EG10826 for recD. Finally,
ECK numbers are specifically used for alleles in the MG1655 strain of
E. coli K-12. Complete lists of genes and their synonyms can be
obtained from databases such as EcoGene or Uniprot.
Several studies have investigated the proteome of E. coli. By 2006,
1,627 (38%) of the 4,237 open reading frames (ORFs) had been
identified experimentally. The 4,639,221–base pair sequence of
Escherichia coliK-12 is presented. Of 4288 protein-coding genes
annotated, 38 percent have no attributed function. Comparison with
five other sequenced microbes reveals ubiquitous as well as narrowly
distributed gene families; many families of similar genes within E.
coli are also evident. The largest family of paralogous proteins
contains 80 ABC transporters. The genome as a whole is strikingly
organized with respect to the local direction of replication;
guanines, oligonucleotides possibly related to replication and
recombination, and most genes are so oriented. The genome also
contains insertion sequence (IS) elements, phage remnants, and many
other patches of unusual composition indicating genome plasticity
through horizontal transfer.
The interactome of E. coli has been studied by affinity purification
and mass spectrometry (AP/MS) and by analyzing the binary interactions
among its proteins.
Protein complexes. A 2006 study purified 4,339 proteins from cultures
of strain K-12 and found interacting partners for 2,667 proteins, many
of which had unknown functions at the time. A 2009 study found
5,993 interactions between proteins of the same E. coli strain, though
these data showed little overlap with those of the 2006
Binary interactions. Rajagopala et al. (2014) have carried out
systematic yeast two-hybrid screens with most E. coli proteins, and
found a total of 2,234 protein-protein interactions. This study
also integrated genetic interactions and protein structures and mapped
458 interactions within 227 protein complexes.
E. coli belongs to a group of bacteria informally known as coliforms
that are found in the gastrointestinal tract of warm-blooded
animals. E. coli normally colonizes an infant's gastrointestinal
tract within 40 hours of birth, arriving with food or water or from
the individuals handling the child. In the bowel, E. coli adheres to
the mucus of the large intestine. It is the primary facultative
anaerobe of the human gastrointestinal tract. (Facultative
anaerobes are organisms that can grow in either the presence or
absence of oxygen.) As long as these bacteria do not acquire genetic
elements encoding for virulence factors, they remain benign
Nonpathogenic E. coli strain Nissle 1917, also known as Mutaflor, and
E. coli O83:K24:H31 (known as Colinfant) are used as probiotic
agents in medicine, mainly for the treatment of various
gastroenterological diseases, including inflammatory bowel
Role in disease
Main article: Pathogenic
Most E. coli strains do not cause disease, but virulent strains
can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, neonatal
meningitis, hemorrhagic colitis, and Crohn's disease. Common signs and
symptoms include severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, hemorrhagic
colitis, vomiting, and sometimes fever. In rarer cases, virulent
strains are also responsible for bowel necrosis (tissue death) and
perforation without progressing to hemolytic-uremic syndrome,
peritonitis, mastitis, septicemia, and Gram-negative pneumonia. Very
young children are more susceptible to develop severe illness, such as
hemolytic uremic syndrome, however, healthy individuals of all ages
are at risk to the severe consequences that may arise as a result of
being infected with E. coli.
Some strains of E. coli for example O157:H7, can produce Shiga toxin
(classified as a bioterrorism agent). This toxin causes premature
destruction of the red blood cells, which then clog the body's
filtering system, the kidneys, causing hemolytic-uremic syndrome
(HUS).Unlike most E. coli that naturally live in the gut, the Shiga
toxin that causes inflammatory responses in target cells of the gut
(the lesions the toxin leaves behind are the reason why bloody
diarrhea is a symptom of an
Shiga toxin producing E. Coli
infection).[In some rare cases (usually in children and the
Shiga toxin producing E. Coli infection may lead to hemolytic
uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and even
death. Signs of hemolytic uremic syndrome, include decreased
frequency of urination, lethargy, and paleness of cheeks and inside
the lower eyelids. In 25% of HUS patients, complications of nervous
system occur, which in turn causes strokes due to small clots of blood
which lodge in capillaries in the brain. This causes the body parts
controlled by this region of the brain not to work properly. In
addition, this strain causes the buildup of fluid (since the kidneys
do not work), leading to edema around the lungs and legs and arms.
This increase in fluid buildup especially around the lungs impedes the
functioning of the heart, causing an increase in blood
Uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) is one of the main causes of urinary
tract infections. It is part of the normal flora in the gut and
can be introduced in many ways. In particular for females, the
direction of wiping after defecation (wiping back to front) can lead
to fecal contamination of the urogenital orifices. Anal intercourse
can also introduce this bacterium into the male urethra, and in
switching from anal to vaginal intercourse, the male can also
introduce UPEC to the female urogenital system. For more
information, see the databases at the end of the article or UPEC
In May 2011, one E. coli strain, O104:H4, was the subject of a
bacterial outbreak that began in Germany. Certain strains of E. coli
are a major cause of foodborne illness. The outbreak started when
several people in
Germany were infected with enterohemorrhagic E. coli
(EHEC) bacteria, leading to hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a medical
emergency that requires urgent treatment. The outbreak did not only
concern Germany, but also 15 other countries, including regions in
North America. On 30 June 2011, the German Bundesinstitut für
Risikobewertung (BfR) (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, a
federal institute within the German Federal Ministry of Food,
Agriculture and Consumer Protection) announced that seeds of fenugreek
Egypt were likely the cause of the EHEC outbreak.
The time between ingesting the STEC bacteria and feeling sick is
called the "incubation period". The incubation period is usually 3–4
days after the exposure, but may be as short as 1 day or as long as 10
days. The symptoms often begin slowly with mild belly pain or
non-bloody diarrhea that worsens over several days. HUS, if it occurs,
develops an average 7 days after the first symptoms, when the diarrhea
The mainstay of treatment is the assessment of dehydration and
replacement of fluid and electrolytes. Administration of antibiotics
has been shown to shorten the course of illness and duration of
excretion of enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) in adults in endemic areas
and in traveller's diarrhea, though the rate of resistance to commonly
used antibiotics is increasing and they are generally not
recommended. The antibiotic used depends upon susceptibility
patterns in the particular geographical region. Currently, the
antibiotics of choice are fluoroquinolones or azithromycin, with an
emerging role for rifaximin. Oral rifaximin, a semisynthetic rifamycin
derivative, is an effective and well-tolerated antibacterial for the
management of adults with non-invasive traveller's diarrhea. Rifaximin
was significantly more effective than placebo and no less effective
than ciprofloxacin in reducing the duration of diarrhea. While
rifaximin is effective in patients with E. coli-predominant
traveller's diarrhea, it appears ineffective in patients infected with
inflammatory or invasive enteropathogens.
ETEC is the type of E. coli that most vaccine development efforts are
Antibodies against the LT and major CFs of ETEC provide
protection against LT-producing, ETEC-expressing homologous CFs. Oral
inactivated vaccines consisting of toxin antigen and whole cells, i.e.
the licensed recombinant cholera B subunit (rCTB)-WC cholera vaccine
Dukoral, have been developed. There are currently no licensed vaccines
for ETEC, though several are in various stages of development. In
different trials, the rCTB-WC cholera vaccine provided high
(85–100%) short-term protection. An oral ETEC vaccine candidate
consisting of rCTB and formalin inactivated E. coli bacteria
expressing major CFs has been shown in clinical trials to be safe,
immunogenic, and effective against severe diarrhoea in American
travelers but not against ETEC diarrhoea in young children in Egypt. A
modified ETEC vaccine consisting of recombinant E. coli strains
over-expressing the major CFs and a more LT-like hybrid toxoid called
LCTBA, are undergoing clinical testing. 
Other proven prevention methods for E. coli transmission include
handwashing and improved sanitation and drinking water, as
transmission occurs through fecal contamination of food and water
supplies. Additionally, thoroughly cooking meat and avoiding
consumption of raw, unpasteurized beverages, such as juices and milk
are other proven methods for preventing E.coli. Lastly, avoid
cross-contamination of utensils and work spaces when preparing
Model organism in life science research
Escherichia coli (molecular biology)
Because of its long history of laboratory culture and ease of
manipulation, E. coli plays an important role in modern biological
engineering and industrial microbiology. The work of Stanley
Norman Cohen and
Herbert Boyer in E. coli, using plasmids and
restriction enzymes to create recombinant DNA, became a foundation of
E. coli is a very versatile host for the production of heterologous
proteins, and various protein expression systems have been
developed which allow the production of recombinant proteins in E.
coli. Researchers can introduce genes into the microbes using plasmids
which permit high level expression of protein, and such protein may be
mass-produced in industrial fermentation processes. One of the first
useful applications of recombinant
DNA technology was the manipulation
of E. coli to produce human insulin.
Many proteins previously thought difficult or impossible to be
expressed in E. coli in folded form have been successfully expressed
in E. coli. For example, proteins with multiple disulphide bonds may
be produced in the periplasmic space or in the cytoplasm of mutants
rendered sufficiently oxidizing to allow disulphide-bonds to form,
while proteins requiring post-translational modification such as
glycosylation for stability or function have been expressed using the
N-linked glycosylation system of
Campylobacter jejuni engineered into
Modified E. coli cells have been used in vaccine development,
bioremediation, production of biofuels, lighting, and production
of immobilised enzymes.
Strain K-12 is a mutant form of E-coli that over-expresses the enzyme
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP). The mutation arises due to a defect in
the gene that constantly codes for the enzyme. A gene that is
producing a product without any inhibition is said to have
constitutive activity. This particular mutant form is used to isolate
and purify the aforementioned enzyme.
Strain OP50 of
Escherichia coli is used for maintenance of
Caenorhabditis elegans cultures.
Strain JM109 is a mutant form of E-coli that is recA and endA
deficient developed by Promega. The strain can be utilized for
blue/white screening when the cells carry the fertility factor
episome Lack of recA decreases the possibility of unwanted
restriction of the
DNA of interest and lack of endA inhibit plasmid
DNA decomposition. Thus, JM109 is useful for cloning and expression
E. coli is frequently used as a model organism in microbiology
studies. Cultivated strains (e.g. E. coli K12) are well-adapted to the
laboratory environment, and, unlike wild-type strains, have lost their
ability to thrive in the intestine. Many laboratory strains lose their
ability to form biofilms. These features protect wild-type
strains from antibodies and other chemical attacks, but require a
large expenditure of energy and material resources.
Joshua Lederberg and
Edward Tatum first described the
phenomenon known as bacterial conjugation using E. coli as a model
bacterium, and it remains the primary model to study
conjugation. E. coli was an integral part of the first experiments
to understand phage genetics, and early researchers, such as
Seymour Benzer, used E. coli and phage T4 to understand the topography
of gene structure. Prior to Benzer's research, it was not known
whether the gene was a linear structure, or if it had a branching
E. coli was one of the first organisms to have its genome sequenced;
the complete genome of E. coli K12 was published by Science in
By evaluating the possible combination of nanotechnologies with
landscape ecology, complex habitat landscapes can be generated with
details at the nanoscale. On such synthetic ecosystems,
evolutionary experiments with E. coli have been performed to study the
spatial biophysics of adaptation in an island biogeography on-chip.
Studies are also being performed attempting to program E. coli to
solve complicated mathematics problems, such as the Hamiltonian path
In 1885, the German-Austrian pediatrician
Theodor Escherich discovered
this organism in the feces of healthy individuals. He called it
Bacterium coli commune because it is found in the colon. Early
classifications of prokaryotes placed these in a handful of genera
based on their shape and motility (at that time Ernst Haeckel's
classification of bacteria in the kingdom
Monera was in
Bacterium coli was the type species of the now invalid genus Bacterium
when it was revealed that the former type species ("Bacterium
triloculare") was missing. Following a revision of Bacterium, it
was reclassified as
Bacillus coli by Migula in 1895 and later
reclassified in the newly created genus Escherichia, named after its
Bacterium coli has since been used for biological lab experiment
research, infection can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS),
characterized by hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and renal
Bacteriological water analysis
Dam dcm strain
International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria
List of bacterial genera named after personal names
List of strains of
Mannan oligosaccharide-based nutritional supplements
T4 rII system
Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University
Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library
^ Tenaillon, Olivier; Skurnik, David; Picard, Bertrand; Denamur, Erick
(1 March 2010). "The population genetics of commensal Escherichia
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Bacteriome E. coli interaction database
coliBASE (subset of the comparative genomics database xBASE)
EcoGene (genome database and website dedicated to
K-12 substrain MG1655)
EcoSal Continually updated Web resource based on the classic ASM Press
Escherichia coli and Salmonella: Cellular and Molecular
ECODAB The structure of the O-antigens that form the basis of the
serological classification of E. coli
Coli Genetic Stock Center Strains and genetic information on E. coli
EcoCyc – literature-based curation of the entire genome, and of
transcriptional regulation, transporters, and metabolic pathways
PortEco (formerly EcoliHub) – NIH-funded comprehensive data resource
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E. coli K-12 and its phage, plasmids, and mobile genetic elements
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RegulonDB RegulonDB is a model of the complex regulation of
transcription initiation or regulatory network of the cell E. coli
Escherichia coli (UPEC)
General databases with E. coli-related information
5S rRNA Database Information on nucleotide sequences of 5S rRNAs and
ACLAME A CLAssification of Mobile genetic Elements
AlignACE Matrices that search for additional binding sites in the E.
coli genomic sequence
ArrayExpress Database of functional genomics experiments
ASAP Comprehensive genome information for several enteric bacteria
with community annotation
BioGPS Gene portal hub
Enzyme Information System
BSGI Bacterial Structural Genomics Initiative
Protein Structure Classification
CDD Conserved Domain Database
CIBEX Center for Information Biology Gene Expression Database
Type strain of
Escherichia coli at
BacDive - the Bacterial Diversity
1993 Jack in the Box
2005 South Wales (O157)
2006 North American (spinach; O157:H7)
2006 North American (multiple; O157:H7)
2009 United Kingdom
2015 United States
Long-term evolution experiment
T4 rII system
Major model organisms in genetics
Bacterial disease: Proteobacterial G−
primarily A00–A79, 001–041, 080–109
Epidemic typhus, Brill–Zinsser disease, Flying squirrel typhus
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Japanese spotted fever
North Asian tick typhus
Queensland tick typhus
Flinders Island spotted fever
African tick bite fever
American tick bite fever
Rickettsia aeschlimannii infection
Flea-borne spotted fever
Ehrlichiosis: Anaplasma phagocytophilum
Human granulocytic anaplasmosis, Anaplasmosis
Human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis
Ehrlichiosis ewingii infection
Bartonellosis: Bartonella henselae
Either B. henselae or B. quintana
Carrion's disease, Verruga peruana
Meningococcal disease, Waterhouse–Friderichsen syndrome,
Eikenella corrodens/Kingella kingae
Burkholderia cepacia complex
Bordetella pertussis/Bordetella parapertussis
Rhinoscleroma, Klebsiella pneumonia
Escherichia coli: Enterotoxigenic
Enterobacter aerogenes/Enterobacter cloacae
Citrobacter koseri/Citrobacter freundii
Typhoid fever, Paratyphoid fever, Salmonellosis
Shigellosis, Bacillary dysentery
Proteus mirabilis/Proteus vulgaris
Far East scarlet-like fever
Brazilian purpuric fever
Legionella pneumophila/Legionella longbeachae
Aeromonas hydrophila/Aeromonas veronii
Campylobacteriosis, Guillain–Barré syndrome
Peptic ulcer, MALT lymphoma, Gastric cancer