Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 208, Issue 3, pp 439-445

First online:

Three fim genes required for the regulation of length and mediation of adhesion of Escherichia coli type 1 fimbriae

  • Per KlemmAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Technical University of Denmark
  • , Gunna ChristiansenAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Microbiology, University of Aarhus

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Three novel fim genes of Escherichia coli, fimF, fimG and fimH, were characterized. These genes were not necessary for the production of fimbriae but were shown to be involved in the adhesive property and longitudinal regulation of these structures. Complementation experiments indicated that both the major fimbrial subunit gene, fimA, and the fimH gene in combination with either the fimF or the fimG gene were required for mannose-specific adhesion. The fimF, fimG and fimH gene products were likewise shown to play a major role in the fimbrial morphology as longitudinal modulators. The amount of FimF, FimG and FimH proteins appeared to control the length and number of the fimbriae. The DNA sequence of a 2050 bp region containing the three genes was determined. The corresponding protein sequences all exhibited homology with the fimbrial subunit protein, FimA.

Key words

Bacterial adhesins fim gene structure Minor fimbrial components Regulation of organelle morphology