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    Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) is a common foodborne pathogen in developed countries. STEC generates "attaching and effacing" (AE) lesions on colonic epithelium, characterized by effacement of microvilli and the formation of actin "pedestals" beneath intimately attached bacteria. In addition, STEC are lysogenized with a phage that, upon induction, can produce potent Shiga toxins (Stx), potentially leading to both hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome. Investigation of the pathogenesis of this disease has been challenging because STEC does not readily colonize conventional mice.Citrobacter rodentium (CR) is a related mouse pathogen that also generates AE lesions. Whereas CR does not produce Stx, a murine model for STEC utilizes CR lysogenized with an E. coli-derived Stx phage, generating CR(Φstx), which both colonizes conventional mice and readily gives rise to systemic disease. We present here key methods for the use of CR(Φstx) infection as a highly predictable murine model for infection and disease by STEC. Importantly, we detail CR(Φstx) inoculation by feeding, determination of pathogen colonization, production of phage and toxin, and assessment of intestinal and renal pathology. These methods provide a framework for studying STEC-mediated systemic disease that may aid in the development of efficacious therapeutics.


    Laurice J Flowers, Shenglan Hu, Anishma Shrestha, Amanda J Martinot, John M Leong, Marcia S Osburne. Citrobacter rodentium Lysogenized with a Shiga Toxin-Producing Phage: A Murine Model for Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli Infection. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2021;2291:381-397

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    PMID: 33704765

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