Adhesins of Escherichia coli associated with extra-intestinal pathogenicity confer binding to colonic epithelial cells

Microb Pathog. 1995 Jun;18(6):373-85. doi: 10.1006/mpat.1995.0034.


Escherichia coli adhesins are virulence factors in intestinal and extra-intestinal infections, but their role in normal intestinal colonization has not been defined. We investigated the intestinal adherence of E. coli with Dr hemagglutinin, S fimbriae, CFA/I or CFA/II, using freshly isolated ileal or colonic enterocytes and cells from the human colonic cell line HT-29. E. coli with S-fimbrial adhesins (Sfa I or Sfa II), P or type 1 fimbriae, adhered in a non-polarized manner, and in similar numbers to colonic and ileal enterocytes. S fimbriae of the variety Sfa II (originating from a meningitis isolate), mediated a stronger binding than Sfa I (of uropathogenic origin). Strains expressing Dr hemagglutinin adhered preferentially to the brush borders, slightly better to colonic than ileal enterocytes. Strains expressing CFA/I or II adhered to colonic and ileal enterocytes, although brush border adherence was predominantly observed with ileal cells. Binding to HT-29 cells paralleled binding to colonic enterocytes for all adhesin specificities except CFA/I. The results suggest that Dr hemagglutinin, P-, type 1- and S-fimbrial adhesins mediate binding to both colonic and ileal enterocytes. These specificities may contribute to the establishment of E. coli in the intestinal microflora, which precedes their spread to extra-intestinal sites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Colon / cytology
  • Colon / microbiology*
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity
  • Fimbriae Proteins*
  • HT29 Cells
  • Hemagglutinins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ileum / cytology
  • Ileum / microbiology


  • Adhesins, Escherichia coli
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Hemagglutinins
  • colonization factor antigens
  • Fimbriae Proteins