Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Microbiol. 1998 Apr;28(2):371-81.

Regulation of type 1 fimbrial expression in uropathogenic Escherichia coli: heterogeneity of expression through sequence changes in the fim switch region.

Author information

School of Microbiological, Virological and Immunological Sciences, The Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Over 80% of uropathogenic Escherichia coli express type 1 fimbriae. Expression is phase variable, and regulation of phase switching can differ between isolates. Previously, this was explained by differences in the expression of the fim recombinases, FimB and FimE. Our study of 50 uropathogenic E. coli isolates confirms variation in the regulation of type 1 fimbriae but, in many cases, the variation could be accounted for by sequence changes within and adjacent to the fim switch, rather than by differences in recombinase expression. This was demonstrated by moving the switch from the isolates into an isogenic background and comparing the switching behaviour with that of the original isolate. Isolates could be arranged into groups based on fim switch regulation and sequence similarity. In certain cases, the altered regulation was located to specific basepair changes within the fim switch. Sequence changes were found that had a marked effect on the activity of either FimB or FimE switching, while others affected FimB switching in only one direction. These results emphasize the value of using naturally selected sequence variation to further the understanding of gene regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center