Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a human pathogen that was first identified from a foodborne outbreak in 1982, and in the 25 years that followed, many new strains were identified and emerged in numerous outbreaks of human disease. Extensive research has been conducted to identify virulence factor genes involved in the pathogenesis of E. coli O157:H7 and many genome sequences of E. coli O157:H7 strains have become available to the scientific community. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of the research that has been conducted over the first 25 years to identify 394 known or putative virulence factor genes present in the genomes of E. coli O157:H7 strains. Finally, an examination of the conservation of these 394 virulence factor genes across additional genomes of E. coli O157:H7 is provided which summarizes the first 25 years and 13 genomes of this human pathogen.
Advances in Microbiology, 4, 390-423