Comprehensive Genome Sequencing of Pathogenic Escherichia Coli and Shigella


The complete genomes of four well-defined E. coli / Shigella strains are being sequenced to closure, in addition to eight genomes at draft coverage, totaling 12 genomes. This work significantly expands and complements the E. coli / Shigella genome projects that are completed or underway worldwide. The number of diseases that the members of these genera can cause underscores their diversity. We are addressing the breadth of this diversity by focusing our sequencing efforts on representative members of three previously under-sequenced groups: enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), enteroinvasive E. coli(EIEC) and Shigella boydii, all of which cause significant morbidity and mortality in humans. In addition to these pathogenic isolates, we are sequencing E. coli HS, a strain known to colonize the human gastrointestinal tract without causing disease. This commensal genome sequence will provide a genomic scaffold which will facilitate rapid identification and focused analysis of pathogen-specific genomic islands and allow identification of those factors responsible for colonization which are shared among the pathogenic members of the E. coli / Shigella. This work will increase our understanding of these genera, enabling the development of robust typing schema and identification of new vaccine targets, as well as potentially aid in forensic analysis in cases of bioterrorism.

Isolate Selection

Strain selection was performed after extensive consultation with the E. coli / Shigella scientific community, other agencies funding similar projects. A meeting of an Advisory Committee (see list below) resulted in the selection of the twelve E. coli / Shigella strains targeted for genomic sequencing.


Ed C. Boedeker
James B. Kaper
Univ. of Maryland School of Medicine and the Center for Vaccine Development

Carl Brinkley
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

Michael S. Donnenberg
Garry Myers
James P. Nataro
Jacques Ravel
University of Maryland

John Greene

Anthony T. Maurelli
Alison D. O'Brien
Louise D. Teel
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Harry L.T. Mobley
Univ. of Michigan Medical School

Lisa K. Nolan
Iowa State

Nicole T. Perna
Rodney A. Welch
University of Wisconsin

David A. Rasko
Alfredo G. Torres
University of Texas

M.J. Rosovitz
Midwest Research Institute

Stephen J. Savarino
Naval Medical Research Center

June R. Scott

Rekha Seshadri
J. Craig Venter Institute

Related Research