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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004 Jan 15;230(1):73-83.

PicU, a second serine protease autotransporter of uropathogenic Escherichia coli.

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Bacterial Pathogenesis and Genomics Unit, Division of Immunity and Infection, The Medical School, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, UK.


Escherichia coli is the major aetiological agent of urinary tract infections (UTI). Like diarrhoeagenic strains of E. coli, uropathogenic isolates possess virulence determinants that distinguish them from commensal strains and allow them to produce the clinical manifestations associated with UTI. Several autotransporter proteins have been associated with the ability of E. coli, and other Gram-negative bacteria, to cause disease. Recently, we described the existence within uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) strains of Sat, a toxin of the serine protease autotransporter of Enterobacteriaceae (SPATE) subfamily. Using features common to proteins secreted via the autotransporter pathway we have identified nine additional autotransporter proteins from the genomic sequence data of UPEC CFT073. Surprisingly, two additional members of the SPATE subfamily were identified. One protein, designated PicU, was homologous to the Pic protein identified in Shigella flexneri and enteroaggregative E. coli. The PicU protein was expressed and investigated for functional activity.

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