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J Infect Dis. 2009 Feb 15;199(4):522-31. doi: 10.1086/596211.

Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae adhesin protein E: characterization and biological activity.

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  • 1Medical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Malmö University Hospital, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.


The adhesin protein E (PE) of the human respiratory pathogen nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) exists in all clinical isolates. In the present study, NTHi adherence to epithelial cells of various origins was further analyzed. The number of intraepithelial PE-deficient NTHi was decreased compared with PE-expressing NTHi. Interestingly, PE-expressing NTHi or Escherichia coli transformants, in addition to soluble recombinant PE22-160 without a lipid moiety, induced a proinflammatory cell response. The adhesive PE domain was defined within PE84-108, and preincubation of epithelial cells with this peptide blocked adhesion of several clinical NTHi isolates. Mice immunized with PE84-108 cleared NTHi up to 8-fold more efficiently on pulmonary challenge than did mice immunized with a control peptide. Finally, anti-PE mouse antibodies from vaccinated mice prevented NTHi adhesion. Our data suggest that the ubiquitous adhesin PE plays an important role in the pathogenesis of NTHi infection.

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