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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004 Sep 15;238(2):333-44.

Characterization of the second long polar (LP) fimbriae of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and distribution of LP fimbriae in other pathogenic E. coli strains.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA.


A second region containing five genes homologous to the long polar fimbrial operon of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is located in the chromosome of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7. A non-fimbriated E. coli K-12 strain carrying the cloned EHEC lpf (lpf2) genes expressed thin fibrillae-like structures on its surface and displayed reduced adherence to tissue culture cells. Neither mutation in the lpfA2 gene in either the parent or lpfA1 mutant strains showed an effect in adherence or in the formation of A/E lesions on HeLa cells. lpfA2 isogenic mutant strains adhere to Caco-2 cells almost as well as the wild-type at 5 h, but they were deficient in adherence at early time points. A collection of diarrheagenic E. coli strains were investigated for the presence of lpfA1 and lpfA2 and results showed that these genes are present in specific serogroups which are phylogenetically related. Our results suggest that LP fimbriae 2 may contribute to the early stages of EHEC adhesion and that genes encoding the major LP fimbrial subunits are present in a small group of EHEC and EPEC serotypes.

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