Sex-dependent competitive dominance of phylogenetic group B2 Escherichia coli strains within human hosts

Michaela D.J. Blyton, Samantha J. Cornall, Karina Kennedy, Peter Colligon, David M. Gordon*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Summary: Escherichia coli can be divided into several distinct phylogenetic groups that differ in their capacity to cause disease. However, what drives the relative abundance of these different phylogenetic groups in the commensal intestinal community of humans is poorly understood. This study investigated how host age and sex influences E.coli community structure in humans. Faecal samples were collected from 205 outpatients in Australia. Different strains within each sample were identified using rep-PCR profiles and their phylogenetic group membership was determined by quadruplex PCR. Female individuals carrying a dominant B2 strain were found to possess fewer strains than those carrying dominant A or B1 strains. Additionally, strains from the same phylogenetic group were more likely to co-occur in females. By contrast, strain diversity and phylogenetic group associations did not differ significantly from random in males. Host age was found to have a significant effect on the phylogenetic group of the dominant strain. Together these findings indicate that the distribution of the different phylogenetic groups within the human intestinal tract may be mediated by a complex interaction between the host environment and the competitive interactions between strains.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)605-610
    Number of pages6
    JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


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