A plasmid-encoded type IV fimbrial gene of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli associated with localized adherence

Mol Microbiol. 1992 Nov;6(22):3427-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1992.tb02210.x.


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) form adherent microcolonies on the surface of tissue culture cells in a pattern termed localized adherence. Localized adherence requires the presence of a large EPEC adherence factor (EAF) plasmid. Recently a bundle-forming pilus has been described in EPEC possessing the EAF plasmid. An analysis of 22 non-invasive EPEC TnphoA mutants revealed that seven have insertions in the EAF plasmid and are incapable of localized adherence. We report here the mapping of the TnphoA insertions in these mutants. The nucleotide sequence of the gene interrupted in these TnphoA mutants (bfpA) was determined and found to correspond to the N-terminal amino acid sequence of the major structural protein of the bundle-forming pilus. The bfpA gene bears sequence similarities to members of the type IV fimbrial gene family and encodes a potential site for processing by a prepilin peptidase. A plasmid containing bfpA as the only open reading frame directs the synthesis of a protein recognized by antiserum raised against the bundle-forming pilus. TnphoA mutants at this locus are unable to synthesize BfpA, but synthesis is restored by introduction of a plasmid containing the cloned gene. The minimum fragment of DNA required to restore localized adherence is considerably greater than that required to restore BfpA synthesis. BfpA expression, as assessed by alkaline phosphatase activity in bfpA::TnphoA mutants, is affected by temperature and growth medium. These studies describe an EPEC plasmid-encoded fimbrial gene, a candidate for the elusive EPEC adherence factor responsible for localized adherence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Escherichia coli
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Adhesion / genetics*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Fimbriae Proteins*
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial* / physiology
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids / genetics*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis


  • Adhesins, Escherichia coli
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • BfpA protein, E coli
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Fimbriae Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/Z12295