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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1999 Jun 15;175(2):247-53.

Non-curliation of Escherichia coli O78:K80 isolates associated with IS1 insertion in csgB and reduced persistence in poultry infection.

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Bacteriology Department, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Addlestone, Surrey, UK.


The elaboration of curli fimbriae by Escherichia coli is associated with the development of a lacy colony morphology when grown on colonisation factor antigen agar at 25 degrees C. Avian colisepticaemia E. coli isolates screened for curliation by this culture technique showed lacy and smooth colonial morphologies and the genetic basis of the non-curliated smooth colonial phenotype was analysed. Two smooth E. coli O78:K80 isolates possessed about 40 copies of the IS1 element within their respective genomes of which one copy insertionally inactivated the csgB gene, the nucleator gene for curli fibril formation. One of these two isolates also possessed a defective rpoS gene which is a known regulator of curli expression. In the day-old chick model, both smooth isolates were as invasive as a known virulent O78:K80 isolate as determined by extent of liver and spleen colonisation post oral inoculation but were less persistent in terms of caecal colonisation.

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