ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0321.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: Enteroinvasive Escherichia coli; Shigella flexneri; Caco-2 cells; icsB; autophagy; WGCNA; gene co-expression network
Online: 25 February 2022 (03:16:26 CET)
Escherichia coli and Shigella are common diarrhea-causing pathogens in children and adults. Enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC) shares a similar pathogenic mechanism with Shigella. However, EIEC are less virulent than Shigella. The aim of this work was to get a better understanding of the virulence differences between EIEC and S. flexneri. We investigated i) the bacterial gene co-expression networks (GCNs) and ii) the the transcriptional modules (WGCNA) of Caco-2 cells infected with EIEC or with S. flexneri during a three-hour period of bacterial infection. The GCN analysis showed that EIEC and S. flexneri networks presented different topologies. Additionally, the EIEC network revealed that pINV genes are not connected with chromosomal genes. WGCNA and eigengene analysis showed enterocyte gene expression variation along the three-hour bacterial post-infection period. Additionally, at one-hour post-infection EIEC induced a higher number of gene expression changes in Caco-2 cells than S. flexneri. Several of these genes are involved in autophagy. This study showed that the lower virulence of EIEC is associated with a lack of functional cooperation between pINV and chromosomal genes, differently from what was observed in S. flexneri. Consequently, EIEC becomes less efficient in subverting host-cell bacterial recognition as well as defense mechanisms such as autophagy.