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Mol Microbiol. 1994 Jun;12(6):893-901.

Unique fimbriae-like structures encoded by sefD of the SEF14 fimbrial gene cluster of Salmonella enteritidis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


The SEF14 gene cluster of Salmonella enteritidis was recently shown to contain three genes, sefABC, encoding a unique fimbrin, and proteins homologous to fimbrial chaperones and outer membrane proteins (ushers), respectively. A fourth open reading frame, designated sefD, was found immediately downstream of sefABC and overlapping sefC. The translated protein sequence of sefD was unique, but the composition was similar to that of other bacterial fimbriae. SefD was produced in abundance by wild-type S. enteritidis as shown by Western blot analysis using antibodies raised to affinity-purified, recombinant SefD. Furthermore, unusually long, thin, fimbriae-like structures were evident on S. enteritidis and Escherichia coli by immunoelectron microscopy, but in other bacterial species SefD was expressed as amorphous material. Therefore, in S. enteritidis and E. coli, SefD is the predominant structural subunit of SEF18. The SEF18 fimbriae-like structures were shown to be serologically distinct from the three known S. enteritidis fimbriae SEF14, SEF17 and SEF21. Furthermore, SEF18 was still produced in sefA insertion mutants, indicating that SEF14 and SEF18 were structurally distinct. Thus, the SEF14 gene cluster is the first example in the Enterobacteriaceae of a gene cluster that encodes two fimbrin-like proteins, which are assembled into two distinct cell-surface structures, SEF14 and SEF18. DNA hybridization and Western blot analyses showed that SefD was widely distributed among the Enterobacteriaceae and was present in E. coli, Shigella, Enterobacter, Citrobacter, Erwinia, Hafnia, Klebsiella, Providencia, and Proteus but not in the non-Enterobacteriaceae Gram-negative bacteria Pseudomonas and Aeromonas, or in Gram-positive bacteria Bacillus or Staphylococcus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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