Stress resistance development and genome-wide transcriptional response of escherichia coli O157:H7 adapted to sublethal thymol, carvacrol, and trans -cinnamaldehyde
Seng, Zi Jing
Kohli, Gurjeet Singh
Date of Issue2018
School of Biological Sciences
Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences and Engineering
Thymol, carvacrol, and trans-cinnamaldehyde are essential oil (EO) compounds with broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities against foodborne pathogens, including Escherichia coli O157:H7. However, little is known regarding direct resistance and cross-resistance development in E. coli O157:H7 after adaptation to sublethal levels of these compounds, and information is scarce on microbial adaptive responses at a molecular level. The present study demonstrated that E. coli O157:H7 was able to grow in the presence of sublethal thymol (1/2T), carvacrol (1/2C), or trans-cinnamaldehyde (1/2TC), displaying an extended lag phase duration and a lower maximum growth rate. EO-adapted cells developed direct resistance against lethal EO treatments and cross-resistance against heat (58°C) and oxidative (50 mM H2O2) stresses. However, no induction of acid resistance (simulated gastric fluid, pH 1.5) was observed. RNA sequencing revealed a large number (310 to 338) of differentially expressed (adjusted P value [Padj], <0.05; fold change, ≥5) genes in 1/2T and 1/2C cells, while 1/2TC cells only showed 27 genes with altered expression. In accordance with resistance phenotypes, the genes related to membrane, heat, and oxidative stress responses and genes related to iron uptake and metabolism were upregulated. Conversely, virulence genes associated with motility, biofilm formation, and efflux pumps were repressed. This study demonstrated the development of direct resistance and cross-resistance and characterized whole-genome transcriptional responses in E. coli O157:H7 adapted to sublethal thymol, carvacrol, or trans-cinnamaldehyde. The data suggested that caution should be exercised when using EO compounds as food antimicrobials, due to the potential stress resistance development in E. coli O157:H7.
E. coli O157:H7
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
© 2018 American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved. This paper was published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology and is made available with permission of American Society for Microbiology.