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J Gen Microbiol. 1990 May;136(5):941-8.

Surface structures, haemagglutination and cell surface hydrophobicity of Bacteroides fragilis strains.

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Cell and Structural Biology, University of Manchester, UK.


Nineteen strains of Bacteroides fragilis were examined by negative staining for surface structures. One strain (ATCC 23745) possessed peritrichous fibrils, 16 strains carried peritrichous fimbriae and two strains carried no surface structures. The fimbriae had a diameter of 2.1 +/- 0.25 nm and appeared to be 'curly'. Only a small proportion (4 to 41%, depending on the strain) of cells in a population carried fimbriae or fibrils. Strain A312 Showed phase variation of fimbriae as expression of fimbriae was repressed at 20 degrees C and in early exponential phase at 37 degrees C. The fibrils on strain ATCC 23745 did not exhibit phase variation in response to changes in incubation temperature, growth phase or growth in two different media. Capsules were demonstrated by the Indian ink method on 18 of the 19 strains, varying in size from strain to strain and within the same population. Cultures often contained both capsulate and noncapsulate cells. All strains possessed an electron dense ruthenium red staining layer between 7.9 and 23.9 nm in width attached to the outer membrane. Cell surface hydrophobicity quantified by the hexadecane partition assay gave low values ranging from 6.6 to 52.1%. Only a few strains were able to haemagglutinate and these were only weakly active. There was no correlation between cell surface hydrophobicity, haemagglutinating activity and surface structures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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