Strain and host-cell dependent role of type-1 fimbriae in the adherence phenotype of super-shed Escherichia coli O157:H7

Robab Katani, Indira T. Kudva, Sreenidhi Srinivasan, Judith B. Stasko, Megan Schilling, Lingling Li, Rebecca Cote, Chitrita DebRoy, Terrance M. Arthur, Evgeni V. Sokurenko, Vivek Kapur

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9 Scopus citations


Super-shed (SS) Escherichia coli O157 (E. coli O157) demonstrate a strong, aggregative, locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE)-independent adherence phenotype on bovine recto-anal junction squamous epithelial (RSE) cells, and harbor polymorphisms in non-LEE-adherence-related loci, including in the type 1 fimbriae operon. To elucidate the role of type 1 fimbriae in strain- and host-specific adherence, we evaluated the entire Fim operon (FimB-H) and its adhesion (FimH) deletion mutants in four E. coli O157 strains, SS17, SS52, SS77 and EDL933, and evaluated the adherence phenotype in bovine RSE and human HEp-2 adherence assays. Consistent with the prevailing dogma that fimH expression is genetically switched off in E. coli O157, the ΔfimHSS52, ΔfimB-HSS52, ΔfimB-HSS17, and ΔfimHSS77 mutants remained unchanged in adherence phenotype to RSE cells. In contrast, the ΔfimHSS17 and ΔfimB-HSS77 mutants changed from a wild-type strong and aggregative, to a moderate and diffuse adherence phenotype, while both ΔfimHEDL933 and ΔfimB-HEDL933 mutants demonstrated enhanced binding to RSE cells (p < 0.05). Additionally, both ΔfimHSS17 and ΔfimHEDL933 were non-adherent to HEp-2 cells (p < 0.05). Complementation of the mutant strains with their respective wild-type genes restored parental phenotypes. Microscopy revealed that the SS17 and EDL933 strains indeed carry type 1 fimbriae-like structures shorter than those seen in uropathogenic E. coli. Taken together, these results provide compelling evidence for a strain and host cell type-dependent role of fimH and the fim operon in E. coli O157 adherence that needs to be further evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number151511
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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