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Infect Immun. Oct 1994; 62(10): 4186–4191.
PMCID: PMC303094

The type 3 fimbrial adhesin gene (mrkD) of Klebsiella species is not conserved among all fimbriate strains.

Abstract

The type 3 fimbriae of enteric bacteria mediate agglutination, in vitro, of erythrocytes treated with tannic acid. The gene encoding the polypeptide, MrkD, that mediates this agglutination reaction was placed downstream of an inducible promoter, and the ability of MrkD alone to facilitate hemagglutination was determined. Although Escherichia coli transformants could be shown to produce the MrkD protein, hemagglutination did not occur in the absence of other mrk gene products. In addition, the MrkD polypeptide did not cross the bacterial outer membrane unless a fimbrial chaperone protein was also present. Analysis of the frequency of the mrkD gene within the genus Klebsiella indicated that this gene is conserved in strains of Klebsiella oxytoca but not in other fimbriate Klebsiella species. In the small number of strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae that do possess a related mrkD gene, this determinant could be found on a plasmid in one strain. The ability of type 3 fimbriate bacteria to adhere to type V collagen was found to be a function of a specific MrkD polypeptide. This adhesin is frequently found in strains of K. oxytoca but is rarely associated with the type 3 fimbriae of K. pneumoniae.

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Selected References

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