Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 16902142
Science 2006 Aug;313(5788):848-51
Transient infection of eukaryotic cells with commensal and extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli of phylogenetic group B2 blocks mitosis and induces megalocytosis. This trait is linked to a widely spread genomic island that encodes giant modular nonribosomal peptide and polyketide synthases. Contact with E. coli expressing this gene cluster causes DNA double-strand breaks and activation of the DNA damage checkpoint pathway, leading to cell cycle arrest and eventually to cell death. Discovery of hybrid peptide-polyketide genotoxins in E. coli will change our view on pathogenesis and commensalism and open new biotechnological applications.