Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli Infection Inhibits Intestinal Ascorbic Acid Uptake via Dysregulation of Its Transporter Expression

Christopher W. Heskett, Trevor Teafatiller, Carly Hennessey, Melanie G. Gareau, Jonathan S. Marchant, Hamid M. Said, Veedamali S. Subramanian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) infection causes prolonged, watery diarrhea leading to morbidity and mortality. Although EPEC infection impacts nutrient transporter function and expression in intestinal epithelial cells, the effects of EPEC infection on intestinal absorption of ascorbic acid (AA) have not yet been investigated. Aims: To investigate the effect of EPEC infection on intestinal AA uptake process and expression of both AA transporters. Methods: We used two experimental models: human-derived intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells and mice. 14C-AA uptake assay, Western blot, RT-qPCR, and promoter assay were performed. Results: EPEC (WT) as well as ΔespF and ΔespG/G2 mutant-infected Caco-2 cells showed markedly inhibited AA uptake, while other mutants (ΔescN, ΔespA, ΔespB, and ΔespD) did not affect AA uptake. Infection also reduced protein and mRNA expression levels for both hSVCT1 and hSVCT2. EPEC-infected mice showed marked inhibitory effect on AA uptake and decreased protein and mRNA expression levels for both mSVCT1 and mSVCT2 in jejunum and colon. MicroRNA regulators of SVCT1 and SVCT2 (miR103a, miR141, and miR200a) were upregulated significantly upon EPEC infection in both Caco-2 and mouse jejunum and colon. In addition, expression of the accessory protein glyoxalate reductase/hydroxypyruvate reductase (GRHPR), which regulates SVCT1 function, was markedly decreased by EPEC infection in both models. Conclusions: These findings suggest that EPEC infection causes inhibition in AA uptake through a multifactorial dysregulation of SVCT1 and SVCT2 expression in intestinal epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • EPEC
  • microRNA
  • SVCT1
  • SVCT2
  • Vitamin C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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