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Mol Microbiol. 1994 Aug;13(4):673-84.

The fimbrial gene cluster of Haemophilus influenzae type b.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie, Abteilung Infektionsbiologie, Tübingen, Germany.


Haemophilus influenzae infections are preceded by airway colonization, a process facilitated by fimbriae. Here, we identified the complete fimbrial gene cluster of H. influenzae type b. HifA forms the major subunit. HifB, a periplasmic chaperone, and HifC, an outer membrane usher, are typical assembly genes; their inactivation abolished fimbriae formation. HifD and HifE are putative minor subunits, both participating in fimbriae biogenesis. Inactivation of either one drastically reduced fimbriae expression. HifD represents a novel type of fimbrial subunit with lipoprotein characteristics, pointing to a membrane-associated function of HifD. Transcription of all fimbrial genes is coregulated through two clustered promoters. The flanking of the fimbrial gene cluster by repetitive extragenic palindromic sequences together with a partial duplication of an adjacent unrelated operon indicated that the cluster was once inserted in the H. influenzae genome as a mobile virulence unit.

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