Role of bundle-forming pilus of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli in host cell adherence and in microcolony development

Cell Microbiol. 2001 Sep;3(9):579-85. doi: 10.1046/j.1462-5822.2001.00136.x.


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) adheres to epithelial cells and forms microcolonies in localized areas. Bundle-forming pili (BFP) are necessary for autoaggregation and the formation of microcolonies. In this study, we show that BFP, expressed by EPEC on epithelial cells, disappeared with the expansion of the microcolony. Bacterial dispersal and the release of BFP from the EPEC aggregates were induced by contact with host cellular membrane extract. In addition, BFP-expressing EPEC adhered directly to cell surfaces, in preference to attaching to pre-formed microcolonies on the cells. These results suggested that BFP mediate the initial attachment of EPEC through direct interaction with the host cell rather than through the recruitment of unattached bacteria to microcolonies on the cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology*
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Escherichia coli / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli / ultrastructure
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Time Factors