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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2008;62:153-69. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.62.081307.162938.

Regulation and function of Ag43 (flu).

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Department of Biology and the Hull York Medical School, University of York, York Y010 5YW, United Kingdom.


Antigen 43 (Ag43) is an abundant outer membrane protein in Escherichia coli belonging to the autotransporter family. Structure-function relationships of Ag43 proposed on the basis of experimental work and in silico analysis are discussed in context of insights derived from molecular modeling. New sequence analysis sheds light on the phylogeny of the allelic variants of the Ag43-encoding gene and identifies two distinct families that appear to be distributed between specific pathogenic and commensal isolates. The molecular mechanism that controls expression by phase variation to create population heterogeneity is discussed. Proposed roles of Ag43 expression for E. coli are summarized and the studies are put into perspective regarding the role of allelic variants, genetic background of the bacterial strain, and control of expression by phase variation. We conclude that future studies need to take into account these variables to obtain a complete understanding of the contribution of Ag43 expression to E. coli biology.

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