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Cell Microbiol. 2003 Aug;5(8):533-47.

Characterization of an outer membrane protein associated with haemagglutination and adhesive properties of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli O111:H12.

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Departamento de Microbiologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.


Diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli strains of serotype O111:H12 are characterized by their aggregative pattern of adherence on cultured epithelial cells and thus are considered enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC). We have previously shown that these EAEC strains lack the genes encoding the aggregative fimbriae I and II described in other heterologous EAEC strains. In this paper, we show compelling data suggesting that a plasmid-encoded outer membrane 58 kDa protein termed aggregative protein 58 (Ap58) produced by EAEC O111:H12 strains, is associated with the adherence capabilities and haemagglutination of animal red blood cells. This conclusion is supported by several lines of evidence: (i) adherent O111:H12 strains are able to produce Ap58; (ii) non-adherent O111:H12 strains are unable to produce Ap58; (iii) antibodies raised against Ap58 inhibited adherence and haemagglutination of epithelial and bovine red blood cells, respectively; (iv) a non-adherent E. coli K-12 host strain containing the ap58 gene determinant on plasmid pVM15 displayed abundant adherence to cultured HEp-2 cells; and (v) the purified Ap58 bound specifically to HEp-2 and bovine red blood cells. Our findings indicate that the aggregative adherence in the O111:H12 strains may be also mediated by non-fimbrial adhesins. We believe our data contribute to the understanding of the adherence mechanisms of these organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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