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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Oct;87(20):7839-43.

A genetic locus of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli necessary for the production of attaching and effacing lesions on tissue culture cells.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201.


The ability of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) to form attaching and effacing intestinal lesions is a major characteristic of EPEC pathogenesis. Using TnphoA mutagenesis we have identified a chromosomal gene (eae, for E. coli attaching and effacing) that is necessary for this activity. A DNA probe derived from this gene hybridizes to 100% of E. coli of EPEC serogroups that demonstrate attaching and effacing activity on tissue culture cells as well as other pathogenic E. coli that produce attaching and effacing intestinal lesions, such as RDEC-1 (an EPEC of weanling rabbits) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli. The predicted amino acid sequence derived from the nucleotide sequence of eae shows significant homology to that of the invasin of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis.

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