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Infect Immun. 1984 Oct;46(1):251-9.

Cloning and expression of an afimbrial adhesin (AFA-I) responsible for P blood group-independent, mannose-resistant hemagglutination from a pyelonephritic Escherichia coli strain.


The uropathogenic Escherichia coli KS52 strain expresses a mannose-resistant hemagglutinin involving an erythrocyte recognition site distinct from the alpha-digalactoside glycosphingolipid receptor identified for the uropathogenic E. coli strains specifying a P adhesin. The KS52 strain showed three major properties. (i) It agglutinated human erythrocytes of all tested blood groups. (ii) Hemagglutinin activity was found both in the supernatant fluid L-broth cultures and in cells grown on L-agar plates. (iii) No fimbriae in organisms grown on L-agar plates were detected by electron microscopy. Whole-cell DNA from the KS52 strain was size fractionated and cloned into the pHC79 cosmid vector. Three recombinant cosmids expressing a mannose-resistant hemagglutination (MRHA) phenotype were characterized and used to subclone the smallest DNA fragment able to confer the same MRHA properties as the parent strain. A 6.7-kilobase chromosomal DNA fragment cloned in pBR322 (pIL14) was shown to be necessary for host-cell MRHA expression and uroepithelial cell adherence. The insert encoded the production of a 16,000-dalton hemagglutinin. This polypeptide could be detected in culture supernatant fluids, in E. coli minicells harboring the pIL14 plasmid, and, by immunoblotting, in the KS52 strain and E. coli whole cells harboring the pIL14 plasmid. No homology was detected by Southern hybridization between the cloned insert and the DNA of the operon responsible for MRHA in the P-specifying, fimbriate strains (pap operon).

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