OmpC regulation differs between ST131 and non-ST131 Escherichia coli clinical isolates and involves differential expression of the small RNA MicC

Corey S. Suelter, Nancy D. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Virulence genes and the expression of resistance mechanisms undoubtedly play a role in the successful spread of the pandemic clone Escherichia coli ST131. Porin down-regulation is a chromosomal mechanism associated with antibiotic resistance. Translation of porin proteins can be impacted by modifications in mRNA half-life and the interaction among small RNAs (sRNAs), the porin transcript and the sRNA chaperone Hfq. Modifications in the translatability of porin proteins could impact the fitness and therefore the success of E. coli ST131 isolates in the presence of antibiotic. OBJECTIVES: To identify differences in the translatability of OmpC and OmpF porins for different STs of E. coli by comparing steady-state RNA levels, mRNA half-life, regulatory sRNA expression and protein production. METHODS: RNA expression was evaluated using real-time RT-PCR and OmpC mRNA half-life by northern blotting. OmpC, OmpF and Hfq protein levels were evaluated by immunoblotting. RESULTS: Differences between ST131 and non-ST131 isolates included: (i) the level of OmpC RNA and protein produced with mRNA expression higher for ST131 but OmpC protein levels lower compared with non-ST131 isolates; (ii) OmpC mRNA half-life (21-30 min for ST131 isolates compared with <2-23 min for non-ST131 isolates); and (iii) levels of the sRNA MicC (2- to 120-fold for ST131 isolates compared with -4- to 70-fold for non-ST131 isolates). CONCLUSIONS: Mechanisms involved in the translatability of porin proteins differed among different STs of E. coli. These differences could provide a selective advantage to ST131 E. coli when confronted with an antibiotic-rich environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1151-1158
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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