Bacterial Cell Surface Structures in Yersinia enterocolitica

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Abstract

Yersinia enterocolitica is a widespread member of the family of Enterobacteriaceae that contains both non-virulent and virulent isolates. Pathogenic Y. enterocolitica strains, especially belonging to serotypes O:3, O:5,27, O:8 and O:9 are etiologic agents of yersiniosis in animals and humans. Y. enterocolitica cell surface structures that play a significant role in virulence have been subject to many investigations. These include outer membrane (OM) glycolipids such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and enterobacterial common antigen (ECA) and several cell surface adhesion proteins present only in virulent Y. enterocolitica, i.e., Inv, YadA and Ail. While the yadA gene is located on the Yersinia virulence plasmid the Ail, Inv, LPS and ECA are chromosomally encoded. These structures ensure the correct architecture of the OM, provide adhesive properties as well as resistance to antimicrobial peptides and to host innate immune response mechanisms.