Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7 infects only humans (causing acute gastroenteritis and hemorrhagic colitis) and calves. Because EHEC does not infect mice, simplified models that allow investigation of EHEC virulence mechanisms are urgently needed. Golan et al. now report a xenograft model involving transplantation of human and bovine intestinal segments into SCID mice that recapitulates several aspects of natural EHEC infection, including tissue tropism and typical histopathology. This model should allow further molecular studies of this important pathogen’s virulence.

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