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Epidemiol Infect. Feb 2001; 126(1): 11–18.
PMCID: PMC2869660

P fimbriae, capsule and aerobactin characterize colonic resident Escherichia coli.


Resident and transient Escherichia coli strains from the colonic microflora of 13 Swedish schoolgirls were analysed for carriage of genes encoding a range of adhesins (P, type 1 and S fimbriae, Dr haemagglutinin and three varieties of the P fimbrial papG adhesin) and other virulence traits (K1 and K5 capsule, haemolysin and aerobactin) using multiplex PCR. Forty-four percent of the resident clones carried genes for P fimbriae, K1 or K5 capsule, and aerobactin, compared with only 3% of transient clones (P < 0.0001). The P-fimbriated clones most often had the class II variety of the P-fimbrial adhesin gene papG and this adhesin was significantly associated with persistence of a strain. S fimbriae and type 1 fimbriae were equally common in resident and transient strains. The results indicate that not only P fimbriae, but also, certain capsules and the ability to produce the siderophore aerobactin might contribute to persistence of E. coli in the large intestine.

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