Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) comprise a group of zoonotic bacterial pathogens of worldwide importance. EHEC cause acute gastroenteritis in humans with life- threatening renal and neurological complications and infections are frequently acquired via contact with ruminant faeces. The molecular basis of virulence of EHEC in humans and of intestinal colonisation in ruminants is poorly understood.<P>
This project aims to test the involvement of specific bacterial genes in colonisation of calves by the predominant EHEC serotype O157:H7. Non-polar deletion mutants of EHEC O157:H7 lacking candidate virulence genes will be given orally to calves and the course of faecal excretion of the bacteria monitored for 14 days. Attenuation of the mutant relative to the parent strain will be assessed. <P>
It is possible that the information may lead to novel vaccines or treatments for the control of EHEC infections in cattle or humans.