Scientists Establish E. coli Online Resource


May 7, 2008

When most people hear about E. coli, the topic is usually food poisoning. But for scientists, E. coli is a key model organism that has helped uncover many of the cell’s fundamental processes. Now, the vast amount of information available on K-12, the most comprehensively studied E. coli strain, is accessible through a single online resource: EcoliHub.

The establishment of EcoliHub was led by Barry L. Wanner, Ph.D., of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The resource is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is freely available to the entire scientific community.

 “ E. coli K-12 has been one of the major workhorses of basic science research since its discovery in the 1920s,” said Matthew E. Portnoy, Ph.D., who oversees the EcoliHub grant at NIGMS. “Much of what we know about how cells work came from research on K-12, and the bacterium continues to be a source of insight. EcoliHub brings the huge amount of information that exists on K-12 under one roof, making it easier for biologists of all stripes to access the information they need to conduct their research.”

The resource provides a single point of entry to information on the genetics, physiology, molecular makeup, and gene expression patterns of the bacterium. In addition to compiling and organizing data, the EcoliHub will bring together the large, diverse group of researchers focused on K-12 by providing a forum for discussing experimental strategies and research results.

EcoliHub also features an E. coli-focused search engine and a community annotation tool, EcoliWiki. Through the Wiki, scientists who work with K-12 can contribute their knowledge and findings, forming a growing, collective data repository. 

EcoliHub is designed to evolve over time, connecting to additional online resources and providing access to an increasing variety of computational tools to serve the scientific community. Future versions of the resource will include links to information on the viruses, mobile genetic elements, and plasmids associated with K-12. 

To learn more about EcoliHub, visit or contact the resource administrators at The NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison can be reached at 301-496-7301 or