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Zentralbl Bakteriol. 1993 Apr;278(2-3):209-17.

The attaching and effacing virulence property of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli.

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Institute of Child Health, University of Birmingham, U.K.


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) remain an important cause of infant diarrhoea in many parts of the developing world. Essential for virulence is their ability to adhere to the small intestinal mucosa and produce a striking 'attaching and effacing' (AE) lesion characterised by localised destruction of brush border microvilli, intimate attachment of bacteria to the residual apical enterocyte membrane, often in a cuplike pedestal structure, and formation of a dense plaque of actin (and other) cytoskeletal filaments beneath adherent bacteria. Fluorescence actin staining (FAS test) has turned out to be a useful diagnostic test for the AE lesion and also led to the identification of a chromosomal gene, eae, which is necessary but, by itself, not sufficient to produce the AE lesion. The 94 kDa outer membrane protein encoded by eae may be the adhesin which promotes intimate bacterial attachment. The signal transduction pathway which leads to AE lesion formation has yet to be defined although EPEC induced increased levels in intracellular calcium and phosphorylation of specific cell proteins including myosin light chain suggest that EPEC, by binding to a specific host cell receptor, may be promoting a calcium second message which would a) activate the brush border protein villin to cause microvillar breakdown and b) stimulate protein kinase activity to cause the other cytoskeletal rearrangements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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