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Infect Agents Dis. 1993 Aug;2(4):272-4.

Environmental regulation of curli production in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.


Curli are novel surface organelles on E. coli that mediate binding to soluble matrix proteins. The expression of curli is affected by environmental factors, such as temperature, osmolarity, and growth conditions. Curli formation is regulated at the level of transcription, in that the csgA gene can be transcriptionally activated by the cytosolic Crl protein or transcriptionally relieved by a mutation in hns. The expression of curli is also dependent on functional RpoS. E. coli--expressing curli bind to human skin tissue, provided they are precoated with soluble fibronectin, suggesting that curli may act as a colonization factor in host-microbe interactions. Fibronectin is a multifunctional extracellular matrix and plasma protein involved in cell adhesion and cell spreading. It also interacts with a variety of microorganisms, and thus the role of fibronectin in mediating binding of curliated E. coli is of great interest. An investigation of the epitopes of both the fibronectin molecule and the curlin subunit protein involved in the binding of E. coli to tissue will give us more insight into the initial colonization of host surfaces by bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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