Document Type


Date of Original Version



Cell & Molecular Biology


d-Gluconate which is primarily catabolized via the Entner-Doudoroff (ED) pathway, has been implicated as being important for colonization of the streptomycin-treated mouse large intestine by Escherichia coli MG1655, a human commensal strain. In the present study, we report that an MG1655 Δedd mutant defective in the ED pathway grows poorly not only on gluconate as a sole carbon source but on a number of other sugars previously implicated as being important for colonization, including l-fucose, d-gluconate, d-glucuronate, N-acetyl-d-glucosamine, d-mannose, and d-ribose. Furthermore, we show that the mouse intestine selects mutants of MG1655 Δedd and wild-type MG1655 that have improved mouse intestine-colonizing ability and grow 15 to 30% faster on the aforementioned sugars. The mutants of MG1655 Δedd and wild-type MG1655 selected by the intestine are shown to be nonmotile and to have deletions in the flhDC operon, which encodes the master regulator of flagellar biosynthesis. Finally, we show that ΔflhDC mutants of wild-type MG1655 and MG1655 Δedd constructed in the laboratory act identically to those selected by the intestine; i.e., they grow better than their respective parents on sugars as sole carbon sources and are better colonizers of the mouse intestine.