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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Feb;6(3):293-300.

CooB is required for assembly but not transport of CS1 pilin.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University Health Sciences Center, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.


CS1 pili are filamentous proteinaceous appendages found on many enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strains isolated from human diarrhoeal disease. They are thought to effect colonization of the upper intestine by facilitating binding to human ileal epithelial cells. We have identified a gene, cooB, which lies directly upstream of cooA, the gene that encodes the major structural CS1 protein. When translated in vitro, the protein product of cooB migrates in sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide gel with an apparent molecular mass of 26 kDa, which is consistent with that predicted from its DNA sequence. We constructed a mutant allele (cooB-1) by insertion of the omega fragment, which inhibits transcription and translation, into the cooB gene in vitro. In a derivative of an ETEC strain with the cooB-1 mutation (JEF100) and a plasmid that encodes Rns (pEU2030), the positive regulator required for CS1 expression, no cooB and a greatly reduced level of cooA product was detectable in total cell extracts. The reduction of cooA in this strain appears to result from polarity of the cooB mutation because introduction of the wild-type cooA gene in trans causes production of CooA protein, which is found in cell pellet extracts, in extracts containing only surface proteins and in the culture supernatant. Therefore, in the absence of CooB, CooA is stable and it is transported through both inner and outer membranes. However, the cooB-1 strain with cooA in trans does not cause haemagglutination of bovine erythrocytes (the model system used to assay adherence mediated by coli surface antigen 1 (CS1) pili).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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