An Essential and Unique Virulence Molecule in Pathogenic Escherichia Coli

Case ID:

This invention relates to a secreted protein that plays a critical role in mediating virulence of pathogenic E. coli. Utilizing a functionally equivalent mouse pathogen, in both in vitro and in vivo virulence studies, the investigators demonstrated that the premature death of intestinal epithelial cells could be prevented.


There are no vaccine or antibiotic options to treat Enterohemorrhagic E. coli associated diarrhea. Pathogenic E. coli is also the leading cause of infantile diarrhea in developing countries. A secreted protein from E. coli prevents the premature death of intestinal epithelial cells by regulating the type III secretion system, which delivers virulence proteins from the pathogen to the host epithelial cells. There is an unmet need to develop a therapeutic option to prevent E. coli associated diarrheal disease.



  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Diagnostics


  • Novel drug target in a disease with high incidence
  • Potential to develop future biomarkers and drug targets due to the better understanding of the disease process

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,484,603

Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tod McCauley
Assistant Director of Licensing, CALS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Virinchipuram Viswanathan
Gayatri Vedantam