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Int J Med Microbiol. 2002 Jun;292(1):43-50.

Antigenic variation within the subunit protein of members of the colonization factor antigen I group of fimbrial proteins in human enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Colonization factor antigens (CFAs) of human enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli can be divided in groups based on the N-terminal amino acid sequence of their major subunit protein. One of the groups that has been distinguished in this way, is the CFA/I group of fimbriae. The sequence of the fimbrial subunit genes in the operons encoding the antigens CS4, CS14 and CS17, all members of this group, was determined. A duplication of the fimbrial subunit gene (csuA) was found in the CS14 operon, both genes encoding very similar proteins. Purified CS14 fimbriae consist of two proteins with different molecular masses (15.5 and 17.0 kDa) but identical N-terminal amino acid sequences, which strongly suggests that both csuA genes are transcribed. A phylogenetic tree derived from the amino acid sequences of the CFA/I, CS1, CS2, CS4, CS14, CS17 and CS19 subunit proteins shows that CS1, CS17 and CS19 belong to the same subgroup. CFA/I, CS4 and CS14 belong to a second subgroup, while CS2 is distinct within the CFA/I group of fimbriae. The genetic similarity between CS1, CS17 and CS19 is reflected in the substantial immunological cross-reactivity observed, both between their protein subunits and intact fimbriae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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