Microb Genom 7 (3) - [2021-03-00; online 2021-03-01]
The phenomenon of contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) and the genes required for CDI (cdiBAI) were identified and isolated in 2005 from an Escherichia coli isolate (EC93) from rats. Although the cdiBAI EC93 locus has been the focus of extensive research during the past 15 years, little is known about the EC93 isolate from which it originates. Here we sequenced the EC93 genome and find two complete and functional cdiBAI loci (including the previously identified cdi locus), both carried on a large 127 kb plasmid. These cdiBAI systems are differentially expressed in laboratory media, enabling EC93 to outcompete E. coli cells lacking cognate cdiI immunity genes. The two CDI systems deliver distinct effector peptides that each dissipate the membrane potential of target cells, although the two toxins display different toxic potencies. Despite the differential expression and toxic potencies of these CDI systems, both yielded similar competitive advantages against E. coli cells lacking immunity. This can be explained by the fact that the less expressed cdiBAI system (cdiBAIEC93-2) delivers a more potent toxin than the highly expressed cdiBAIEC93-1 system. Moreover, our results indicate that unlike most sequenced CDI+ bacterial isolates, the two cdi loci of E. coli EC93 are located on a plasmid and are expressed in laboratory media.