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Nephron. 1997;77(4):412-6.

Renal scarring by mannose-sensitive adhesin of Escherichia coli type 1 pili.

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Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


Most Escherichia coli isolates from patients with pyelonephritis possess both pap (mannose-resistant) pili and type 1 (mannose-sensitive) pili. In the experimental pyelonephritis model of rats, the mannose-sensitive-piliated strain caused severe renal scarring, whereas the mannose-resistant or nonpiliated strain did not. Type 1 pili consist of several subunits; one major subunit and other minor subunits. One of the minor subunits, adhesin, is responsible for mannose-sensitive adhesion to eukaryotic cells. The role of adhesin was examined in scar formation after infection with a newly constructed adhesin-deficient mutant which has pilus structure but cannot agglutinate guinea pig erythrocytes. A mutant plasmid, pYMZ84, containing a deletion in the adhesin gene of type 1 pili, failed to agglutinate guinea pig erythrocytes even though the bacteria expressed pili morphologically indistinguishable from those produced by plasmid pSH2, carrying the intact genes for the type 1 pili. E. coli harboring pYMZ84 caused negligible or minimal renal scarring, whereas E. coli harboring pSH2 caused severe renal scarring in rats. These data suggest that the mannose-sensitive adhesin of type 1 pili stimulates renal scarring.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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