Role of P-fimbrial-mediated adherence in pyelonephritis and persistence of uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) in the mammalian kidney

Kidney Int. 2007 Jul;72(1):19-25. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2007 Mar 28.


P fimbria, a mannose-resistant adhesin of uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), has been shown to be associated with acute pyelonephritis. The pap gene cluster encodes the proteins required for P-fimbrial biogenesis, including papG, which encodes the tip adhesin. The three most studied PapG molecular variants, which are shown to bind distinct isoreceptors, are PapGI, -II, and -III. PapGII preferentially binds globoside, or GbO4, a glycolipid isoreceptor of the human kidney. Studies using different animal models of ascending urinary tract infection (UTI) have demonstrated a variable role for P fimbriae, and specifically PapGII-mediated adherence, in renal colonization. The disparities in the results obtained from those studies are likely to be attributed to the differences in animal models and UPEC strains utilized. One explanation that is discussed in detail is the contribution of multiple fimbriae of UPEC that potentially mediate adherence to the mammalian kidney. Overall, P fimbriae appear to play some role in mediating adherence to uroepithelial cells in vivo and establishing an inflammatory response during renal colonization, thus contributing to kidney damage during acute pyelonephritis. To verify that P fimbriae contribute to the pathogenesis of UPEC during ascending UTI (and in particular acute pyelonephritis), future studies should be conducted to satisfy fully all three tenets of the molecular Koch's postulates, including complementation of a mutated allele.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Escherichia coli / analysis
  • Adhesins, Escherichia coli / physiology*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity
  • Escherichia coli Infections / pathology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / physiopathology
  • Fimbriae Proteins / analysis
  • Fimbriae Proteins / physiology*
  • Fimbriae, Bacterial / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / microbiology*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pyelonephritis / physiopathology*


  • Adhesins, Escherichia coli
  • PapG protein, E coli
  • Fimbriae Proteins