The E phylogroup of Escherichia coli is highly diverse and mimics the whole E. coli species population structure




Clermont, Olivier
Condamine, Benedicte
Dion, Sara
Gordon, David
Denamur, Erick

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Blackwell Publishing Ltd


To get a global picture of the population structure of the Escherichia coli phylogroup E, encompassing the O157:H7 EHEC lineage, we analysed the whole genome of 144 strains isolated from various continents, hosts and lifestyles and representative of the phylogroup diversity. The strains possess 4331 to 5440 genes with a core genome of 2771 genes and a pangenome of 33 722 genes. The distribution of these genes among the strains shows an asymmetric U-shaped distribution. E phylogenetic strains have the largest genomes of the species, partly explained by the presence of mobile genetic elements. Sixty-eight lineages were delineated, some of them exhibiting extra-intestinal virulence genes and being virulent in the mouse sepsis model. Except for the EHEC lineages and the reference EPEC, EIEC and ETEC strains, very few strains possess intestinal virulence genes. Most of the strains were devoid of acquired resistance genes, but eight strains possessed extended-spectrum beta-lactamase genes. Human strains belong to specific lineages, some of them being virulent and antibiotic-resistant [sequence type complexes (STcs) 350 and 2064]. The E phylogroup mimics all the features of the species as a whole, a phenomenon already observed at the STc level, arguing for a fractal population structure of E. coli.





Environmental Microbiology


Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights



Restricted until