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Gut Microbes. 2012 May-Jun;3(3):272-6. doi: 10.4161/gmic.20661. Epub 2012 May 1.

Fimbriation and curliation in Escherichia coli O157:H7: a paradigm of intestinal and environmental colonization.

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


Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotypes, particularly E. coli O157:H7, possess a variety of fimbrial and afimbrial adhesins which have emerged as important contributors to intestinal colonization. E. coli O157:H7 possesses two chromosomal operons encoding long polar fimbriae (Lpf), which have been found to influence adherence in vitro and colonization in vivo. In a recent Infection and Immunity paper, we further explored the role of Lpf in E. coli O157:H7 intestinal colonization by using the infant rabbit model of STEC infection. We found that an E. coli O157:H7 Lpf-deficient mutant was outcompeted in the rabbit intestine by its parental strain, which may suggest that Lpf contributes to colonization. In contrast, the Lpf-deficient mutant showed an increased adherence to cultured intestinal epithelial cells, and we discovered that this strain overexpressed curli fibers. In this addendum article, we provide a continued perspective on the predicted roles of Lpf and curli, both in vivo and in vitro.

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