Yersinia enterocolitica

RANK: Species

TAXONOMY: Bacteria -> Proteobacteria -> Gammaproteobacteria -> Enterobacteriales -> Enterobacteriaceae -> Yersinia -> Yersinia enterocolitica


Yersinia enterocolitica is a Gram-negative bacillus-shaped bacterium, belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae. It is motile at temperatures between 22-29°C, but becomes non-motile at normal human body temperature. Y. enterocolitica infection causes the disease yersiniosis, which is an animal-borne disease occurring in humans, as well as in a wide array of animals such as cattle, deer, pigs, and birds. Many of these animals recover from the disease and become carriers; these are potential sources of contagion despite showing no signs of disease. The bacterium infects the host by sticking to its cells using trimeric autotransporter adhesins (TAAs). Y. enterocolitica is a heterogeneous group of strains, which are traditionally classified by biotyping into six biogroups on the basis of phenotypic characteristics, and by serotyping into more than 57 O serogroups, on the basis of their O (lipopolysaccharide or LPS) surface antigen. Five of the six biogroups (1B and 2–5) are regarded as pathogens. However, only a few of these serogroups have been associated with disease in either humans or animals. Strains that belong to serogroups O:3 (biogroup 4), O:5,27 (biogroups 2 and 3), O:8 (biogroup 1B), and O:9 (biogroup 2) are most frequently isolated worldwide from human samples. However, the most important Y. enterocolitica serogroup in many European countries is serogroup O:3 followed by O:9, whereas the serogroup O:8 is mainly detected in the United States. A binding activity for thyrotropin (a hormone of the anterior pituitary gland which stimulates the thyroid gland) has been isolated from Y. enterocolitica. Use of radiolabelled thyrotropin showed that the thyrotropin specificity of the Y. enterocolitica binding activity was similar to that of the thyrotropin receptor in human thyroid tissue.

This species has been identified as a resident in the human gastrointestinal tract based on the phylogenetic framework of its small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequences.[PMC 4262072]

Gut associated
Substrates/ Growth Factors
  • Norepinephrine