Reports

Survival of Escherichia coli host-vector systems in the mammalian intestine

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Science  18 Jul 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4454, pp. 391-394
DOI: 10.1126/science.6992276

Abstract

Survival in the mouse and human intestine of Escherichia coli host-vector systems used and proposed for recombinant DNA technology was assessed. There was no detectable survival of severely disabled E. coli K12 strain X1776 in mice or in human subjects 24 hours after ingestion. The same strain bearing the plasmid pBR322, however, was recovered from human subjects for 4 days in amounts of six organisms for every million ingested. Nondisabled E. coli K12 strain X1666, with or without pBR322, survived in 10(4)-fold greater numbers and for 2 days longer, with better recovery of the plasmid-containing derivative. Although the plasmid-bearing strains were recovered for longer periods, no intestinal colonization was noted. Despite the presence of pBR322 for a maximum of 6 days in the human intestine, there was no evidence that it was transferred from either bacterial host to endogenous aerobic fecal bacteria.