Bacterial plasmids have been linked to virulence in Escherichia coli and Salmonella since their initial discovery. Though the plasmid repertoire of these bacterial species is extremely diverse, virulence-associated attributes tend to be limited to a small subset of plasmid types. This is particularly true for extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli, or ExPEC, where a handful of plasmids have been recognized to confer virulence- and fitness-associated traits. The purpose of this review is to highlight the biological and genomic attributes of ExPEC virulence-associated plasmids, with an emphasis on high-risk dominant ExPEC clones. Two specific plasmid types are highlighted to illustrate the independently evolved commonalities of these clones relative to plasmid content. Furthermore, the dissemination of these plasmids within and between bacterial species is examined. These examples demonstrate the evolution of high-risk clones toward common goals, and they show that rare transfer events can shape the ecological landscape of dominant clones within a pathotype.
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article