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Mol Microbiol. 1989 Dec;3(12):1735-44.

Analysis of genes coding for the sialic acid-binding adhesin and two other minor fimbrial subunits of the S-fimbrial adhesin determinant of Escherichia coli.

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Institut für Genetik und Mikrobiologie, Würzburg, FRG.


The S fimbrial adhesin (Sfa) enables Escherichia coli to attach to sialic acid-containing receptor molecules of eukaryotic cells. As previously reported, the genetic determinant coding for the Sfa of an E. coli O6 strain was cloned, the gene coding for the major fimbrial subunit was identified and sequenced and the S specific adhesin was detected. Here we present evidence that in addition to the major subunit protein SfaA three other minor subunit proteins, SfaG (17 kD), SfaS (14 kD) and SfaH (31 kD) can be isolated from the S-specific fimbrial adhesin complex. The genes coding for these minor subunits were identified, mutagenized separately and sequenced. Using haemagglutination tests, electron-microscopy and quantitative ELISA assays with monoclonal anti-SfaA and anti-SfaS antibodies the functions of the minor subunits were determined. It was determined that SfaS is identical to the S-specific adhesin, which also plays a role in determination of the degree of fimbriation of the cell. The minor subunit SfaH also had some influence on the level of fimbriation of the cell, while SfaG is necessary for full expression of S-specific binding. It was further shown that the amino-terminal protein sequence of the isolated SfaS protein was identical to the protein sequence calculated from the DNA sequence of the sfaS gene locus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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