Analysis of the Variability of S-fimbriae Expression in an Escherichia Coli Pathogen

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1991 Apr 15;63(2-3):233-8. doi: 10.1016/0378-1097(91)90091-n.


The uropathogenic Escherichia coli wild-type strain 536 produces S-fimbriae, P-related fimbriae and type I fimbriae. Using immuno-colony dot and ELISA techniques, variants were detected showing an increased degree of S-fimbrial production. It was demonstrated by immunofluorescence microscopy that in normal (wild-type) and hyper-S-fimbriated E. coli populations non-fimbriated cells also exist, and that the percentage of S-fimbriated and non-fimbriated bacteria was roughly identical in either population. Hyper-S-fimbriated variants could be stably maintained. The transition from wild-type to hyper-S-fimbriation, which occurs spontaneously, is markedly higher than vice versa. Southern blot analysis of the S fimbrial adhesin (sfa) determinants of normal and hyper-fimbriated strains revealed no marked difference in the gene structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Escherichia coli
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Blotting, Southern
  • DNA Probes
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity
  • Escherichia coli / ultrastructure
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / immunology
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology


  • Adhesins, Escherichia coli
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA Probes