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Infect Immun. Jun 1992; 60(6): 2297–2304.
PMCID: PMC257157

Aggregative adherence fimbriae I of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli mediate adherence to HEp-2 cells and hemagglutination of human erythrocytes.


Strains of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAggEC) have been implicated in several studies as important agents of persistent diarrhea among infants in the developing world. We have previously shown that the aggregative adherence (AA) property of EAggEC is associated with the presence of a 60-MDa plasmid which confers AA when introduced into E. coli HB101. Here, we report the cloning of the AA determinant from EAggEC strain 17-2 into the 21.5-kb cosmid vector pCVD301. TnphoA mutagenesis of the AA cosmid clone pJPN31 implicated an AA region of approximately 12 kb. Transmission electron microscopy of HB101 (pJPN31) revealed the presence of bundle-forming fimbriae, which were absent in AA- TnphoA insertion mutants. The presence of these fimbriae, AA, and hemagglutination (HA) of human erythrocytes were all concurrently lost by single-insertion mutations. A 14-kDa protein was seen on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western blotting (immunoblotting) of surface shear preparations from fimbriated clones. Twelve of nineteen volunteers fed EAggEC 17-2 developed rises in antibodies to the 14-kDa protein as determined by Western blot. We have termed the cloned bundle-forming fimbriae aggregative adherence fimbriae I (AAF/I); positivity with a previously described EAggEC probe and human erythrocyte HA appear to correlate with the presence of AAF/I.

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