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Infect Immun. 2012 Mar;80(3):903-13. doi: 10.1128/IAI.05907-11. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Molecular mechanisms that mediate colonization of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains.

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Centro de Estudios Moleculares, Departamento de PediatrĂ­a, Hospital Dr. Luis Calvo Mackenna, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is a group of pathogens which cause gastrointestinal disease in humans and have been associated with numerous food-borne outbreaks worldwide. The intimin adhesin has been considered for many years to be the only colonization factor in these strains. However, the rapid progress in whole-genome sequencing of different STEC serotypes has accelerated the discovery of other adhesins (fimbrial and afimbrial), which have emerged as important contributors to the intestinal colonization occurring during STEC infection. This review summarizes recent progress to identify and characterize, at the molecular level, novel adhesion and colonization factors in STEC strains, with an emphasis on their contribution to virulence traits, their host-pathogen interactions, the regulatory mechanisms controlling their expression, and their role as targets eliciting immune responses in the host.

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